Anxiety and Panic Attacks

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Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

First published May 22, 2013

Over the last few weeks and months I’ve seen a big increase though my therapy practise of people suffering anxiety or panic attack.

A lot of people complain of very similar symptoms such as racing heart beat and a feeling on being on edge all of the time among other things.

So what happening to cause people to feel like this?

First of all it will be more than likely start with something internally like negative dialog, which will create a picture in the mind. These two things together then create or start the process of creating a negative and most unwelcome feeling.

So the process starts at a neurological level in the brain.  It could be argued that anxiety itself is its own neurological symptom. After all, anxiety can change neurotransmitter levels in your brain causing them to send unusual signals to the rest of your body that  actually effect all your nervous systems and causes real sensations/symptoms.

The forebrain is the area most affected in people with anxiety disorders. The limbic system, which is involved in storing memories and creating emotions, is also thought to play a central role in processing all anxiety-related information. Both the locus coeruleus and the dorsal raphe project to the septohippocampal circuit, which in turn projects to other areas of the limbic system that mediate anxiety. The hippocampus and amygdala are of particular importance, as they are interconnected and also project to both subcortical and cortical nuclei. The amygdala fires off the fight, flight or freeze reaction in the brain then floods the body with adenine. It is the increased activity of the amygdala that causes the symptoms of anxiety and panic. It acually happens like this freeze, fight or flight.

Normally after each anxiety event, the amygdala resets itself to a normal level. But if we continue to experience anxiety or stress over a long period of time, our amygdala is modified and becomes fixed at a high anxiety level. In other words it is in the on position and needs to be switched off.

So it is a very real problem for some people. I think that a panic attack is anxiety but a much stronger reaction, anxiety that has been allowed to grow and become somewhat out of control. A friend who was a nurse in A&E in a local hospital said that 99% of people admitted to hospital who think they are having a heart attack are actually experiencing a panic attack

Anxiety and panic attacks can be cause by increased stress and inadequate coping mechanisms may contribute to anxiety.

One of the best ways to help yourself is to try deep breathing exercise every day for around 10 – 15 minutes at time.

How to do Deep Breathing Exercises:

  1. Find somewhere comfortable where you will not be disturbed during the exercise, if necessary tell who you live with family etc than you don’t want to be disturbed and to be considerate to your needs.
  2. Lie down or sit in a comfy chair, place your hands on your lower stomach. Breathe in through your nose so that your stomach rises, this mean than you will be breathing from the bottom of the lungs not the top. Hold the breath for a couple of seconds then slowly breathe out.
  3. Repeat these 3 or 4 times then allow your breathing to go back to normal.
  4. Concentrate on different parts of the body allowing these to relax one by one starting with the top of your head and working all the way down to the tips of your toes. Image you are in a wonderfully relaxing a safe place, I like to think of myself lying on a beach sunbathing.
  5. Just allow yourself 10 to 15 minutes of relaxing this way every day making part of your lifestyle. Try not to fall asleep as relaxation is different to sleep so you don’t want to associate relaxing with going to sleep although you may find it hard not too drop off at first.

If you feel you need a little more help then please contact me via the website or the office telephone number. www.blhypnotherapy.co.uk or 024 76362360

I am available for one to one or Skype (adam.cowming) therapy sessions if you can’t get to my office in person.

Regards

Adam


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Insomnia

 

Insomnia

First published on September 20, 2012

This is one subject that can keep people awake at night thinking why can’t they sleep!

Have you ever suffered from a sleepless night? I know I have on more than one occasion. It is normally when we have something going on in our lives that we are worried or concerned about. Some people suffer long term problems and need more professional help from someone like me. I wanted to give you some easy to follow tips and tricks to help with this problem.

The first tip is to stop drinking caffeine based drinks such as coffee around 8 hours before you go to bed because caffeine can stay in your system for a long time still working up to 12 hours after drinking a cup of coffee for example. Try drinking water instead or any other drink that is caffeine free, even decaffe coffee has some small amounts of caffeine in it.
The time it takes for the body to eliminate one half of a caffeine dose is normally between 3 to 12 hours. It is called the half-life of caffeine. Several factors can shorten or lengthen the half-life of caffeine. Smoking, medications and diseases are some factors. Pregnant women have higher caffeine half-life, 18 to 20 hours – pretty much longer for the fetus since its organs are not yet fully formed to be able to eliminate caffeine easily. About 99% of the elimination process takes place in the liver. Did you know that????

Don’t eat a meal before going to bed, have it a few hours at least before your bed time.

Relax before going to sleep. Have a nice warm bath or like me go and read in bed for half an hour before sleep. This allows your body and mind to unwind from the day properly.

Take 3 or more nice deep breaths just before you want to sleep. Breathe in through your nose and out though your mouth allowing your stomach to rise with each deep breath. This is called Diaphragmatic Breathing. Practise this a few times until it becomes comfortable. As you are breathing out say to yourself in your own mind “I am feeling sleepy”.

If you seem to have a lot of chatter or internal dialogue you can change it. Start by slowing the dialogue down and making it sound sleepy. Say words like “Relax” in your own mind and use the breathing exercise as above with it. You can even visualize a control panel in your mind which has dials on it with for example ”Volume” and “Tone” and make sure you turn the dials down to 1 or 0.

There are of course other factors such as anxiety linked with not sleeping which would take a while to read through that’s why I only write shorts blogs.

Simple things also help like is your bed and bedding comfy ,if not change them.

I hope this has helped.

If you feel you would like my help as a Hypnotherapist please contact me for an appointment.

Adam Cowming

www.blhypnotherapy.co.uk


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Relax

Relax

First published on August 30, 2012

Hello again,

Sorry for the delay with this blog but i’ve been very busy with my therapy business plus I’ve had a holiday as well. Enjoy.

With modern lives so busy and people rushing around so much these days I’m finding increasing numbers of clients coming to see me because of stress and stress/anxiety related issues such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), so what the answer?

Learning to slow down a bit will help, as well as other things such things as relaxation techniques. People just don’t seem to take any time for themselves, then wonder why they are tired and feeling washed out. The body and mind needed a certain amount of time to rest and relax as well apart from sleep.

I tell clients to take 10 to 15 minutes a day to learn to relax and take time out for themselves. It is important not to fall asleep during this time out so the body learns it can relax without falling to sleep. Try this easy exercise.

Find somewhere comfortable where you will not be disturbed during the exercise, if necessary tell who you live with family etc than you don’t want to be disturbed and to be considerate to your needs. Lie down or sit in a comfy chair, place your hands on your lower stomach. Breathe in through your nose so that your stomach rises, this mean than you will be breathing from the bottom of the lungs not the top. Hold the breath for a couple of seconds then slowly breathe out. Repeat these 3 or 4 times then allow your breathing to go back to normal. Concentrate on different parts of the body allowing these to relax one by one starting with the top of your head and working all the way down to the tips of your toes. Image you are in a wonderfully relaxing a safe place, I like to think of myself lying on a beach sunbathing. Just allow yourself 10 to 15 minutes of relaxing this way every day making part of your lifestyle. Try not to fall asleep as relaxation is different to sleep so you don’t want to associate relaxing with going to sleep although you may find it hard not to drop off at first.

Learn to relax this way is very beneficial to mental health and can help with a whole range of issues even helping people out of depression, helping with anxiety and stress. You can even do a mini relaxation for a few minutes if you not got 15 minutes, a little is better than nothing.

This is a wonderfully easy and powerful exercise that anyone can do at home or even in their lunch break at work.

Ask yourself are you worth 15 minutes a day?

Get my free “Stress Buster” Mp3 audio here

Adam Cowming

Website  www.blhypnotherapy.co.uk