How to cope with anxiety attacks

What causes anxiety attacks, and what you need to do about them

How to cope with anxiety attacks

An increasing number of celebrities are speaking out about mental health. From Jennifer Lawrence and her experience with social anxiety, to Zayn Malik, who recently cancelled a concert in Dubai due to anxiety about performing solo, more and more light is being shed on an important, often taboo, issue.

“Some anxiety and nervousness is normal,” says Dr Iram Ahmedi, a counsellor and hypnotherapist. “It actually helps you go through your daily routine and move forward. But when these nerves start to cause heart palpitations, excessive perspirations, irritable bowel syndrome and a general incapacity to perform, that’s when you know you need help.”

Dr Ahmedi says having a positive conversation in your mind is the first step anyone experiencing anxiety needs to take. “Stage fright is a big thing. When you’re nervous, you go in this loop of repetitive, negative thoughts that keep playing so much in the mind that they incapacitate the person.”

The symptoms and reasons for panic attacks can vary from person to person, but Dr Ahmedi has an overarching idea of one thing that could be causing them: “Social media and being hooked to your phone contribute to anxiety because they do not allow you to relax. And one of the key ways of dealing with anxiety is relaxation,” she says, adding, “personalities prone to anxiety can fall prey to this.”

Aside from seeing a professional, Dr Ahmedi has tips on how anxiety can be dealt with at home, or in the office. “Deep breathing is really effective, doing yoga and going for a walk outdoors also helps,” she says.

“If you can work on stopping negative thoughts, that’s good too. When at work, have an hour in the day that is your worry o’clock – so only worry in that hour. As irrational as it sounds, it really helps, as you’re training your brain to believe that you don’t need to worry all day.”

Sound advice that we’ll certainly be trying in our own office…
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