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Anxiety & Panic

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3STEPS TO HELP WITH ANXIETY & PANIC: Anxiety is something we all experience. It’s that uneasy feeling, of apprehension, a feeling of danger, doom or misfortune and can be our response to situations that we find threatening or worrying. For instance, we may feel anxious in advance of an exam or an operation and certain levels of anxiety can be good when we need to perform well or in an emergency.

So, Anxiety is usually prompted by fear and that is healthy to feel when real danger is present, but when it goes beyond real danger and lingers on in our minds, it becomes anxiety or worry. It is often prompted by uncertainty and feeling of being out of control, a reality we all have to learn to live with.

For most people, anxiety is brought on by stressful life events such as moving house, starting college or a new job. Sometimes it can be hard to understand why you’re feeling anxious and struggling to cope every day. Anxiety can make even the simplest of things difficult and it’s at this point that there’s a serious issue.

KNOW THE SIGNS: If you are concerned about anxiety, are any of these SIGNS familiar?

Physical Signs

  • Tense Muscles
  • Trembling
  • Churning Stomach
  • Nausea & diarrhoea
  • Headache & dizziness
  • Heart palpitations & shortness of breath
  • Numbness or “pins and needles” in arms, hands or legs
  • Sweating
  • Problems sleeping
  • Clammy hands or feet
  • An inability to be still or calm

Emotional Signs

  • Worry
  • Nervousness
  • Loss of concentration
  • Frustration
  • Racing thoughts

Behavioural Signs

  • Mood swings
  • Loss of appetite or over-eating
  • Communicating less with friends & family
  • Going out less than usual
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Self-harm or thoughts of self-harm.

Panic Attacks: Similarly, panic is something we all know well.  Feeling panicky is a common response to a dangerous or stressful situation and that feeling usually passes fairly quickly. But some people who have anxiety also suffer with panic attacks. These occur when anxiety reaches a peak and the body pumps around adrenaline around, which can trigger the flight, fight or freeze response. During a panic attack, it can often feel like you can’t breathe, that you’re going to have a heart attack or that you’re having an out of body experience. It’s important to learn what helps you if you have panic attacks. Some people find breathing deeply works, or distracting themselves from the stressful situation. Find what works for you through counselling or your own research and trial and error.


What if I just avoid things that make me anxious?

Avoiding situations that make you anxious might help you feel better in the short term, but the trouble is the anxiety will keep returning and it has a habit of spreading to more situations than just the initial trigger. This can lead to you avoiding things like shops, crowded places or lectures. So although avoidance makes you feel better, remember that:

  • Relief is only temporary – you may worry about what will happen next time.
  • Every time you avoid something it is harder next time you try to face it.
  • Gradually you will want to avoid more and more things
  • It becomes easier to give yourself a reason not to go out

What can you do to reduce Anxiety?

What may seem like small and insignificant things, can help with something as big and terrifying as mental health struggles. Coping skills are about creating a new balance and a new way of looking at the world, a new perspective. People often talk about needing to stick to a routine in order to feel rested or able to face the day. These are just some suggestions:

  • Talk about your feelings
  • Be around supportive, good friends
  • Develop a to do list to help focus you and deal with what is making you anxious
  • Write down your feelings, this can help you work out why you feel as you do and may help you find a solution
  • Overcome negative thoughts with positive self-talk
  • Visit your GP if you’re struggling or meet with a Counsellor
  • Try reading or watching a movie to help calm your nerves
  • Eat & sleep well. Limit caffeine & alcohol where possible
  • Practice breathing exercises
  • Exercise e.g. yoga or running
  • Hobbies & Activities: Find something you’re passionate about. Do it as often as possible e.g. baking, learning languages, dancing, tennis, creative pastimes etc.
  • Don’t try to control what can’t be controlled
  • Stop trying to be a people pleaser, it only adds stress and worry to our lives. Learn to be happy with what you can produce


3Ts Self-Help Booklets on Anxiety & Panic (Download)

3Ts Self Help Booklets are available on a broad range of topics relating to mental health including Panic, Anxiety and Social Anxiety and are free to download here. The booklets contain valuable information for anyone concerned about these issues, introducing self help techniques & coping strategies which can be used to take the first steps to recovery as well as sign-posting to professional help.   The booklet is a valuable resource for anyone who is suffering from symptoms of anxiety or panic or for anyone concerned for another.

If you would like a handy 3Steps to Help Prevent Suicide Wallet Card with tips and pointers on Know the Signs, Know the Words, Know your Supports, message us on info@3ts.ie and we’ll pop one in the post to you.

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3Ts Self Help Booklets on Anxiety & on Panic

COVID-19: Link to HSE updates on Mental Health Supports & Services