How to Prevent Anxiety Attacks
Learning how to prevent anxiety attacks requires that you build a toolbox of coping skills to aid in dealing with life stresses. The first step involves becoming mindfully aware of everyday stress and which stressors or stimuli tend to increase your levels of anxiety.
Perhaps you start to feel anxious when chores at home, or responsibilities at work, seem to pile up. Or maybe you worry excessively about things over which you have little or no control – worrying whether or not you'll get the job you just interviewed for is unproductive. You completed the interview, now it's up to the hiring manager to decide whether you, or someone else, land the position. You have no control over the outcome at this juncture, so worrying about it only induces unproductive anxiety. Examine which situations and circumstances cause unproductive anxiety.
Tools to Prevent Anxiety Attacks
Awareness of your thought patterns and external triggers is vital in understanding how to prevent anxiety attacks. Once you've identified the things that cause you stress and anxiety, you can develop your collection of tools for coping with them. Some helpful skills in preventing anxiety include:
- Meditation – meditative chants and disciplines have a stabilizing effect on mood and the body's response to stressful stimuli.
- Relaxation activities – yoga, deep breathing
- Visualization – a technique that involves imagining yourself dealing with challenging situations in a rational, calm way. Or you can associate stressful circumstances with a comical figure that you defeat, using calm, methodical strategies.
- Exercise – according to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise can provide significant help in preventing anxiety and depression. Exercise releases brain chemicals, called endorphins, which have a positive influence on mood. The rise in body temperature caused by exercise has a natural calming effect on a person's perception of events and stimuli.
- Interpersonal skill enhancement – courses in interpersonal skills offer strategies for dealing with difficult people at work, social, and personal situations. Learning to effectively deal with others will prevent stress and a subsequent build-up of anxiety.
- Healthy eating habits – avoid caffeine and other stimulants as these exacerbate anxiety and elicit the body's stress response to challenging circumstances. Eat balanced, nutritionally sound meals to provide the necessary energy to tackle each day.
- Get plenty of rest – a rested body and mind is better equipped to cope with unexpected events and responsibilities. Exhaustion leaves the door open for anxiety and worry to creep in when your body doesn't have the energy or rest to deal with stress.
In a nutshell, living a healthy lifestyle and taking care of your whole self -- physically, emotionally, and spiritually – provides the best foundation and the most effective tools for dealing with stress and preventing anxiety attacks.
Additional Anxiety Attack Information
- What is an Anxiety Attack? Anxiety Attack Symptoms
- Anxiety Attack Treatment
- Dealing with an Anxiety Attack and How to Get Relief
- How to Stop an Anxiety Attack
- Can You Cure an Anxiety Attack?
Last Updated: 29 June 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD