Common anxiety signs and symptoms include:
- Feeling nervous, restless or tense
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
- Having an increased heart rate
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
- Feeling weak or tired
- Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
- Having trouble sleeping
- Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
- Having difficulty controlling worry
- Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
How can I help myself during anxiety attacks?
Talking to someone you trust about what’s making you anxious could be a relief. It may be that just having someone listen to you and show they care can help in itself.
Simple Breathing Exercise
You can perform this exercise as often as needed. It can be done standing up, sitting down, or lying down. If you find this exercise difficult or believe it’s making you anxious or panicky, stop for now. Try it again in a day or so and build up the time gradually.
- Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose. Keep your shoulders relaxed. Your abdomen should expand, and your chest should rise very little.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth. As you blow air out, purse your lips slightly, but keep your jaw relaxed. You may hear a soft “whooshing” sound as you exhale.
- Repeat this breathing exercise. Do it for several minutes until you start to feel better.
Take note of your worries and keep them in a particular place – for example, you could write them in a notebook, or on pieces of paper or your phone.
Avoid them as much as possible to reduce the chance of triggering anxiety attacks.
Have a good diet and sleep well. Eating regularly and keeping your blood sugar stable can make a difference to your mood and energy levels. See our page on food and mood for more information. Sleep can give you the energy to cope with difficult feelings and experiences.
People can get recommendations for licensed counselors or therapists from their primary care provider or through their insurance company. Some therapists specialize in particular types of disorders.
Panic attack medication isn’t available over the counter. You need to see a healthcare professional to obtain a prescription.