Your heart is pumping so hard you wonder if everyone else can hear it. You start to shake on the inside and on the outside you start to sweat. Your thought process gets out of control and you feel as if you may be having a psychotic episode; you become frantic, and distraught as though you are losing control.
Welcome to the world of anxiety and panic attacks.
As a holistic therapist, it saddens me when people are automatically put onto medication without treating the person in their entirety.
Anxiety and panic attacks affect us biologically, physically and psychologically. Each area is not separate. What affects one area, affects every other area. It’s a chain reaction. When our brain has a thought which then switches on our fight/flight response, i.e. should I stay and fight or take off, the body releases chemicals to deal with this situation. Our feelings go into panic mode and we react and behave accordingly.
Unfortunately, if this happens over and over again the body loses it’s ability to turn off the ‘save me’ response. The button doesn’t work anymore. That’s when we are unable to automatically stop the panic attacks and increased anxiety response. Our health starts to suffer and we feel powerless and overcome with anxiety and the inability to function like everyone else.
Video by The Mighty
It’s alarming the number of people going through the same experiences on a daily basis. Approximately 2 million Australian are suffering with anxiety. This will increase in years to come unless we start treating anxiety more holistically.
These conditions sometimes trick people to consume higher amounts of alcohol. They eat more and choose the wrong foods. They tend to exercise less because eating and drinking is what they think will help their anxiety. They lose motivation.
When dealing with anxiety, I work with each area of your life. What do I look for when dealing with anxiety?
The main areas are:
- Social issues
- Family and relationships
- Work and employment
- Current health issues
- Current mental health status
- Physical outlets such as exercise
- Diet and nutrition
Whilst I am not a nutritionist nor a personal trainer I have spent over 20 years doing both formal and informal study into diet, nutrition and exercise. What I have found is that if you don’t support the physical with exercise, diet and nutrition, then it’s really difficult to support the mental health challenges.
I know that if you are trying to change anything it’s either all or nothing at all. It’s not just a token gesture here or there. It’s a holistic process. While we work on your mental health to retrain your brain we also seriously look at your diet and nutrition. Feed the body what it needs. Most people will be depleted of essential vitamins and minerals which will ultimately lead to stress then the onset of health issues. Throw in no exercise and what you are left with is a mind and body struggling.
The systems within the body do not run on their own. It’s a well-oiled integrated system that relies on team effort. Take care of your body and it will take care of you.
It’s not ok to just say “ok let’s work on your mental health.” It would be like saying lets only put 3 tyres onto your car and see how it runs. Obviously it won’t. It’s only when you you start to get sick that you know your body is not happy and somewhere along the line you haven’t provided it with the correct nutrition, exercise and care. Working to support your health with exercise, nutrition and diet will help to speed up changes for. From these changes you will start to feel better, think clearer and reduce your anxiety and panic attacks.
When anyone is suffering with anxiety, it’s about addressing each area. So while we work on your mental health you are also working on your physical health. Sure you can decide to take medication straight up but your body will continue to suffer. It’s OK to take medication if this is what is needed. But, many a time it’s best to err on the side of caution and take the holistic path first. If you are after quick fix then the medical route is probably the best. If you are after long term results then seriously contemplate the holistic approach.
It’s about one step at a time giving you the knowledge to do it forever.