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Category: Panic Attack Self Help

  1. Diet & Food For Panic Attack and Anxiety

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    Food and Diet for Anxiety & Panic Attack Sufferers

    Food Diet for panic attacks and anxietyWhy is diet so important?

    Food, diet, anxiety and panic attacks are all interlinked. 

    Anxious people either tend to eat too much because they comfort eat, or too little as their so nervous they don’t feel like eating.  If you’re on a crash diet this is also not helpful.  I can assure you if you stick to the diet I will recommend you will feel less anxious and panicky, and as an added benefit you will lose weight. 

    Having problems swallowing food?

    Anxious people often complain of not being able to swallow food.  This is because they are anxious and the body is experiencing the fight and flight response.  This tends to try and stop us from eating because if you need to run away or fight your way out of trouble, then eating is not high on your body’s agenda.  Don’t worry just practice eating when you’re relaxed and calm.  If it’s easier to eat on your own then do this.  In time when you’re stronger you can then start to eat with family and then public places. 

    The Real problem with our Diet

    Most people will fall into this category of the constantly snacking usually on sugary things.  I recently watched a programme on somebody who suffered from epilepsy. He stated he often wanted to sleep after a fit because he used up so much energy whilst fitting.  Anxiety and panic attacks are a bit like this.  You burn up so much energy whilst being anxious and panicky that a quick fix is eating foods such as chocolate, sweets, cake, etc.  Although this initially makes you feel better after a while you feel even worse which I will explain later. 

    Having a good, solid breakfast to start the day is essential.  You would not expect car to start in the morning if the lights had been left on all night.  Our ‘battery’ is the same it needs charging too, to face the day ahead.  Our blood sugar levels are the single most important diet requirement we need to help us overcome anxiety.  If you don’t build a strong foundation then even if you implement other recovery techniques they won’t work. 

    Anti Anxiety Diet

    I am going to be straight with you – you simply have to eat a good solid breakfast or at the very least eat a mini meal soon after a small breakfast. 

    I am not a morning person. Quite often I don’t feel like having a big breakfast.  But I make sure I eat foods that will burn slowly and give me a solid platform to start the day.  For example porridge, muesli, Shredded wheat or Weetabix would be good choice.  Some of the most famous cereal foods, Co Co pops, Frosties, Rice Krispies contain a lot of sugar.  Along with your cereal have a couple of pieces of whole meal toast.  The whole grain is what you need as this will release energy slowly into your system.  I often have a tangerine, apple or banana as part of my breakfast.  Fruit is great for breakfast. 

    Protein is a must for breakfast which you can get from meats and poultry.  Why not have a bacon sandwich, or combine it into the classic bacon, lettuce and tomato (BLT).   Boiled or scrambled eggs for breakfast are also a personal favourite of mine.  Again great for protein.  Protein is good for you as it does not affect your sugar levels

    One of the most frequent issues that panic sufferers face is that roller coaster feeling of being OK one minute and then panicky the next.  One of the main ways of making your body a lot stable is to stop eating junk food.  Crisps, chocolate, cakes, sweets, etc; although seem filling and give you an initial lift, ultimately will leave you feeling worse.  The sugar rush will make you feel much better but there is a sting in the tail.  Once the pancreas releases insulin to combat the sugar you will be left feeling irritable and anxious.  It’s much better to snack on whole grain snacks that release carbohydrates slowly. 

    So what can I snack on?

    Foods like muesli bars, whole grain rice’s, pasta or other complex carbohydrates snacks are healthy for you.  Just check the label as by law they should show the sugar content.  Proteins are good as well as they do not affect your blood sugar level. Examples are nuts, fish, yogurt, beans, eggs, etc.  Fruits are other obvious examples of snacks that are good for you.  Just be careful as some fruits are quite high in natural sugar i.e. bananas. 

    Rather than just picking at snacks it’s much better to have five or six mini meals every day.  You should not be going more than 3 to 4 hours without anything to eat.  Plan out each day when and what you’re going to eat and try not to comfort eat in-between especially on junk food.  It’s also important not to go to bed on an empty stomach.  This will help reduce feelings of anxiousness and having night time panic attacks.  Try to have something light like a yogurt or a small cheese and lettuce whole meal sandwich before you go to bed.  Perhaps wash it down with some milk. This will help keep your blood sugar stable during the night.  People who go to bed on a big meal tend to get indigestion problems and the rebound when their blood sugar drops after the body has managed to digest such a large meal.  The same goes for alcohol.  Although it may help you sleep in the short term as it suppresses the nervous system, the rebound effect will be felt later at night when the blood sugar drops and you feel anxious. 

    Panic Attack Causes which Food

    Often people will have a cup of tea or especially coffee before they go to bed.  This is again a bad idea.  Caffeine is in coffee as well as tea and is a stimulant. It often will make an anxious person more agitated.  I can guarantee if I have a strong cup of coffee it will give me heart palpitations.  I use to get this even before I suffered from anxiety and panic attacks.  So I know my body is particularly sensitive to caffeine. 

    Finally it’s never a good idea to lie in bed too long.  Even if you had a bad night’s sleep its best to get up after 8 hours sleep rather than just lie in bed.  This will help you the following night to get a better night’s sleep as you will be tired, and you need to maintain a steady blood sugar level.  If you went to bed at eleven then get up around seven and have a herbal tea such as chamomile which as good calming properties.  Then have a good balanced breakfast with whole grain, protein and some fruit. 

    Your diet is one of the simplest things you can change that can have dramatic effects to promote your well-being.  To feel the full effects of a new diet may take several months but it is worth it.  You may well see the added benefit of weight loss.  Remember a stable foundation will lead to a much better chance of a full recovery and it’s what your body needs.

    Remember your body needs all the nutritious food it can get as its energy sapping and exhausting work for your body to keep initiating the flight or fight response.  Not looking after ones health by eating poorly is one the main causes of panic attacks and yet it’s one of the most overlooked keys to recovery.   

    the secret blod the secret........



    Hypoglycemia Hypoglycemia is a condition that occurs when your blood sugar (glucose) is too low.  Panic attacks can be caused by this.  Whether you have the condition or not it's so important to keep your blood sugars stable to feel well.  Too much sugar and you may feel great for a while, then the crash.  Diet is one of the must under-rated aspects of getting better and reducing the horrible symptoms of anxiety.  There are two books that I have read on this subject -  New Low Blood Sugar and You: The Startling Facts of How Millions of People Suffer from Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar) without Knowing it - The Simple Diet That Can Completely Eliminate This Disease  & The Low Blood Sugar Handbook .  Both go into great detail and have recipes, facts/figures, lists of foods you can eat and programmes to get well.  The nature of the topic can mean that reading is heavy going but it's worth at least reading one book on Hypoglycemia. 

    Food & Drink

    As part of my programme of recovery I strongly recommend that you remove caffeine from your diet completely.   That means no tea or coffee.  I personally think a great substitute is Chamomile (calming properties) or Peppermint tea.  If you buy from supermarkets it tends to be quite expensive.  If you would like to buy in bulk then I would suggest Twinings Pure Camomile  and Pure Peppermint tea .

    If you suffer from palpitations some people recommend Pukka Clean Greens Powder - Organic Bio Nutrients - 120g Powder  (I have not actually tried it myself).  It comes in capsules as well but the powder is better value for money - 1 months supply for £25.  Apparently it does not taste very good so be warned! Amazon seems to be the best price.  You probably wonder what it is - it's a herbal drink.  You mix one tablespoon with a glass of water.  Clean Greens contains antioxidants, chlorophyll, vitamins, trace minerals and enzymes, all of which can help you cope better with our polluted environment and diet. When using Clean Greens daily, you should notice improvements in your digestion, skin appearance and general wellbeing. 

    Multivitamins & Minerals

    Sometimes it's recommended to take Multivitamins & Minerals when you're run down. Any help you can give your body to improve and cope with the burden of anxiety can only help you recover.  I personally took vitamins for a while as I thought this would give my body extra help and a boost to cope with all the stresses placed upon it.  If you feel you need that extra help then below are some popular Multivitamins & Minerals tablets -

    Sanatogen A-Z Complete 23 essential Vitamins and Minerals 90 Tablets  or Sanatogen Vital 50+ Multi Vitamin & Mineral Supplement With Ginkgo & Ginseng Tablets 90 Tablets

    Centrum Performance Multivitamin & Minerals Plus Ginseng & Ginkgo Biloba Supplement 60 Tablets

    Multivitamin and Minerals - 120 tablets, 100% RDA - High quality, unbeatable price

    Seven Seas A-Z Multi Spectrum Multivitamins & Minerals 60 Capsules  


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  2. Exercise For Anxiety, Exercise and Panic Attacks

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    Exercise and Panic Attacks

    Exercising has so many great benefits it’s surprising that so many people are unaware of this.  From my own experience it’s just such a good way of instantly relieving the horrible sensations of panic very quickly.  So why don’t people do exercise?

    I think the benefits are fantastic but it does require taking action and perhaps going into an area which you are uncomfortable with.  Many panic sufferers believe that they are unable to exercise because of their condition.  This is totally untrue.  You may have some medical condition which stops you undertaking certain activities, but if you think creatively you can usually find a way to ‘work-out’ in same shape or form.

    NO Excuses

    exercise joggingBesides thinking that you can’t exercise many people also find excuses why they cannot exercise.  Through out Positive Panic Attacks I make crystal clear that overcoming anxiety is hard work, and unless you put the effort in you will not recover to be totally free of it.  It’s very easy to just sit in a chair and let your body semi-relax as best it can and not do something energetic.  I know your symptoms can be disabling, intense and overwhelming, but exercise is exactly what your body needs.

    I found that when things become increasingly difficult for me to do like, social events  or undertaking my weekly supermarket shop, there was a tool called exercise that could help.  I did this by going to the gym after work and releasing all my pent up aggression, anxiety and nervous energy.  After an hour in the gym and a hot shower, I felt like a new man.  I found walking around the supermarket was much easier.  I would feel slightly anxious but nothing more than this.  I would no longer be gasping for breath, leaning on my shopping trolley as my legs were wobbly and feeling scared.

    Sakyong Mipham“ Many of us are slaves to our minds. Our own mind is our worst enemy. We try to focus, and our mind wanders off. We try to keep stress at bay, but anxiety keeps us awake at night. We try to be good to the people we love, but then we forget them and put ourselves first. And when we want to change our life, we dive into spiritual practice and expect quick results, only to lose focus after the honeymoon has worn off. We return to our state of bewilderment. We're left feeling helpless and discouraged. It seems we all agree that training the body through exercise, diet, and relaxation is a good idea, but why don't we think about training our minds?” Sakyong Mipham - Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training the Body and the Mind


    Exercise for Anxiety


    Exercise is exactly what the body needs in order to metabolize the flood of neurotransmitters produced by the Flight or Fight response. 

    If you start telling yourself negative thoughts about exercise, then you will never take action.  So just to demystify any myths, exercising is not dangerous if you have anxiety.  It’s what your body is expecting – run or fight. Exercise will not make your symptoms worse.  Although exercise produces a lot of the same symptoms as panic attacks, sweating, heavy breathing, thumping heart, etc.   Once you have learnt to relax during exercise and to accept the feelings that may occur, you will notice any unpleasant sensations will subside.  I often use an MP3 player with my favourite music playing through ear headphones to district any negative thoughts or feelings.  I can assure you everybody is capable of doing some exercise, so there is no excuse for not exercising!

    Many believe the flight or fight response will lock your body with fear and prevent you undertaking exercise.  But exercise is the perfect antidote to releasing you from these rigid, panicky feelings and making you feel so much better.

    Exercise is great for processing and removing the build up of neurotransmitters in the brain and it helps us return to a state of calm.


    Neurotransmitters are types of hormones in the brain that transmit information from one neuron to another. They are made by amino acids. Neurotransmitters control major body functions including movement, emotional response, and the physical ability to experience pleasure and pain. The most familiar neurotransmitters which are thought to play a role in mood regulation are serotonin, nor epinephrine, dopamine, acetylcholine, and GABA.’  Neurotransmitters

    As with any program its best to build up slowly.  As you find your body gets stronger and fitter you can then increase the level of the activity.  If you do find yourself feeling anxious during exercise, its best to remind yourself of How to Stop a Panic Attack by disempowering all the unpleasant feelings.  Remember that these sensations are harmless and that once you understand the scientific explanation behind each symptom, you can go forward with complete confidence.  Your body is perfectly healthy, so exercising is fine.  Enjoy the experience as well.

    Unpleasant Sensations

    I have felt the terrible sensations of panic and anxiety and can completely understand that sometimes if difficult to stand, let alone run about.  Also panicking all day is extremely tiring as its takes a lot of energy from the body.  But this ultimately is what the body requires.  It’s simply letting you know that when you sweat, shake, can’t breathe, etc; it’s expecting you to spring into action and burn energy.  When this doesn’t happen, that’s when all this energy has no where to go and creates horrible feelings.  You will find after exercise you will feel better and more energized in a positive way.

    Take small steps at a time and gradually build up an exercise regime.  You may be so ill that just leaving your house is a problem.  If this is the case then gradually work on others areas like relaxation, challenging your thoughts, diet and then start exercising gradually.  Even if you can only manage a 5 minute walk outside at first, work at your own pace.  Keep persevering and eventually you will be able to do more.   You will find overtime you can manage more and more. The benefits of exercise include reducing your panic symptoms, you will be fitter, have more stamina and your confidence will increase.  You may even lose some weight! (If you need to).

    Over Ambitious

    exercise bikeA common mistake is for a panic attack sufferer to be over ambitious in their plan to exercise.  Remember this is a life style change.  So it’s something to be incorporated into your life tomorrow, in 6months time and in 6 years time.  Of course no-body knows what will happen in the future but it should to be realistic and something that is achievable.  Don’t fall into the mistake of thinking you should be able to jog for 45 mins every other day.  Create a plan that meets your needs today.   Get creative, if you look on you may find cheap gym equipment in your local area which you can fit into a spare room or garage.  You can then exercise in the comfort of your own home when it suits you.  When you get fitter and have more confidence, you can extend your exercise regime to outside.  You will see your physical endurance improve.

    Don’t expect immediate success straight away.  The benefits will sometimes not be apparent straightaway especially if the exercise is not vigorous enough.  If all you can manage is a few minutes exercise a day then start off there.  It doesn’t matter if your neighbour is running marathons or your husband can lift 80 Kg in weights.  Create an exercise plan to meet your needs right now.  The key is to build up to a level of exercise where you’re actually breaking into a sweat and giving you a cardio vascular workout (see other book name).  Ideally I would recommend as a minimum you should be undertaking around 30-45 minutes exercise, 3 times a week.  The exercise should be active enough to make you out of breath and make you sweat a little.

    At the start maybe all you can do is lift your finger, but several months down the line you need to build up to the 3 times a week around 30-45 minutes of exercise.  If you can do more great.  The more you push yourself the greater the benefit will be felt.  Remember it’s what your body exercise skippingwants to do.  It wants to burn energy.  Success breads confidence.  Once you feel your body getting fitter and having more stamina you can push yourself to the next level.  Never over push yourself.  If you’re gasping from breath I would say you have gone too far.  But after a few weeks unless you expend your horizons to feeling slightly out of breath, you will never be fully experiencing the benefits you can get from exercise.

    By its nature panic attacks tend to happen in teenagers/young adults which mean the majority of sufferers will be young, and will have probably been involved in sport in their childhood.  So if your young, active and there is nothing wrong you (apart from anxiety and panic attacks) then no excuses, get out there and exercise with a smile on your face.  You will be glad you did.

    Once you have built up to a decent level of endurance and physical activity its worth bearing in mind a good ‘workout’ can leave the body with feel good chemicals for up to 36 hours after the exercise.  So if you are looking for the optimum benefits look to exercise four to five times a week.  Personally like most panic attacks sufferers I am not at my best first thing on the morning.  My Diet / Food article explains that after sleeping 8 hours your blood sugar can be low making you feel not at your best.  We are all unique.  If you’re an early riser and after a good breakfast feel like exercising (perhaps before work) then do it.  The obvious benefit of this will be it will set you up nicely for the day will lots of feel good chemicals in your body.  Personally, I don’t like exercising in the morning, so I tend to exercise gently in my lunch hour by walking my dog and then more intensely by jogging, Gym workout or by 5-a-side football.   To be honest earlier in the day would be better as its sets you up for day but do what ever suits you.

    It’s much better to incorporate exercise into a lifestyle, whether that’s after work or before you pick the kids up from school.  You are then much more likely to stick at it.  Fitness classes, spinning, aerobic are a great way of incorporating fitness into your life.  They have the added benefit of being a social activity which will help you overcome social anxiety (if you have this), and hopefully it’s enjoyable as you’re exercising as part of a team.   You can then encourage each other to exercise.

    Andrew SolomonListen to the people who love you.  Believe that they are worth living for even when you don't believe it.  Seek out the memories depression takes away and project them into the future. Be brave; be strong; take your pills.  Exercise because it's good for you even if every step weighs a thousand pounds. Eat when food itself disgusts you.  Reason with yourself when you have lost your reason.” The Noonday Demon [Paperback]


    To Summarize

    Ideally you should be exercising 4 to 5 times a week to feel the ultimate benefits.  You need to undertake an aerobic exercise which makes you sweat and makes you out of breath. Build up slowly to this if your not use to exercising.  Try not to push yourself to hard especially at first, and pace yourself according to how you feel.

    Taking action is the key and you must find someway you can incorporate exercise into a daily regime.  When you get this integrated into a lifestyle it’s much easier to keep it going.

    To help

    • Focus your mind on a distraction activity when exercising if you start to have anxious thoughts.
    • Listen to music whilst you exercise and sing along to your favourite song.
    • If you like jogging concentrate on small landmarks as you jog around block.  Take each landmark as a stage post.  Some days you may be able to jog to landmark 3 and then walk to the landmark 4 (get a breather) and continue jogging.  Other days may be different; on the whole you will see a steady increase in your stamina.
    • Remember your breathing.  Your body will naturally start to breath from your chest area when you increase the intensity of the exercise.  This is normal.  When you’re relaxed you should be breathing from your abdomen area.  Exercise can trigger panic symptoms via chest breathing.  So it’s important we relax during exercise, and try and breathe from our tummy region taking in deep breaths.  That’s why it’s a good idea not to push yourself too much at first but to build up confidence and a tolerance to exercise, so that it does not trigger panic attacks symptoms.
    • Repeat positive affirmations to yourself and really take note of your self-talk.  If you’re telling yourself you feel embarrassed exercising then you likely to produce negative feelings.  If you tell yourself how fit and healthy you’re going to make yourself feel, this will promote positive feelings of self-worth and confidence.

    Did Exercise help you overcome anxiety and panic attacks?  If so, How?


    the secret blod the secret........




    Exercise for Mood and Anxiety: Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression and Enhancing Well-Being In this book, psychologists Michael Otto and Jasper Smits present a comprehensive, action-based approach for using exercise as a means to manage mood. In particular, they give much attention to one's motivation for exercise, focusing on the idea that although it will take time to fully address symptoms of depression or anxiety, exercise can provide IMMEDIATE mood benefits. Therefore, the authors strive to help their readers make the actual experience of working out more pleasant. Otto and Smits also address other motivational factors, including preparing for low motivation and directing one's thoughts for success. Later in the book, they talk further about both increasing one's enjoyment during exercise via using mindfulness-based strategies and rewarding oneself after exercise.

    Stress Management Skills Training Course: Exercises and Techniques to Manage Stress and Anxiety - Build Success in Your Life by Goal Setting, Relaxation and Changing Thinking with NLP This book takes an in-depth look at stress, exactly what it is and how to deal with it. The author showa you how to identify your unhealthy stress, and then gives you a number of strategies to help you effectively manage and deal with any areas you want to change. Remember, not all stress is bad, some stress is good and can be healthy - plus it's often a great motivator. Throughout the programme they take a holistic approach to stress management.

    Conquering Depression and Anxiety Through Exercise [Kindle Edition] Essentially a collection of clinical evidence (and stories) that highlight the extremely strong link between regular moderate exercise (for example, 3-5 times a week for 20-30 mins at 50-70% of your maximum heart rate) and reduction of anxiety and depression. Get your running shoes on!

    Free Yourself From Anxiety: A self-help guide to overcoming anxiety disorders This book I recommend elsewhere but it also contains information on the importance of exercise.  A good general book on anxiety.

    GP Referral Schemes: Working with GP Referred Clients (Fitness Professionals) [Paperback] A good general book to learn exercises for medical benefit.

    Other Articles

    What are the symptoms of Panic Attacks?

    Prevent Panic Attacks - Challenging the Thoughts which Cause Panic

    How to cure Panic Attack Disorder?

    Panic Attack Breathing?

    How to Stop a Panic Attack?

    My Tools of Recovery

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    Like what you read?   


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  3. The Anxiety Nervous System

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    The human nervous system has two separate parts.

    The Voluntary and the Autonomic System.


    The Voluntary system This is concerned with movement and sensation.  When we lift our hand up it's the voluntary nervous system coming into action and lots of nerves (motor and sensory nerves amongst others) are moving.

    The Autonomic System This controls areas which we have less control over.  These include heart rate, digestion of food, blood pressure, etc.  Basically our nerves leave the spine to connect to our major organs and glands.  The nerves either stimulate or inhibit them.


    • Sympathetic
    • Parasympathetic

    The sympathetic nervous system sounds like it has a calming influence, but in fact it’s the complete opposite.  The sympathetic helps to panic attack alarmprepare the body to defend itself by activating glands and organs. This is called the Fight or Flight response.

    Nerves send more blood to the muscles and the brain.  The heart rate and blood pressure increase, whilst blood flow to non-essential organs and the digestive system decreases.  When you’re experiencing a Panic Attack or high anxiety this is basically what’s happening.  The thyroid and adrenal glands are activated to provide energy to run or fight.  That’s we you may feel your heartbeat, your mouth goes dry, difficulty in swallowing, etc.  Stress, panic and nervousness is what you feel when the sympathetic nervous system ‘kicks in’.

    If the sympathetic nervous system is constantly being activated it is not good for our bodies.  The body’s energy should be used to provide nourishment, repair the body, elimination of waste.  But if most of our energy is being used to prepare us to fight or run we start to feel run down.

    A good example is imagining having all the nations’ resources being placed to defend the country.  In a short term emergency it’s very helpful, but should it go on for too long the nation becomes depleted, poorer and weaker.

    The adrenaline rush of a panic attack is always followed by a feeling of being tired and irritable as the body is depleted of resources.

    There is an answer to this ……………..

    The parasympathetic nervous system

    This is concerned with healing, nourishing and regeneration of the body.  Its nerves stimulate the immune system, digestion and organs that promote wellbeing.

    The parasympathetic nervous system can be activated by relaxation, rest and happy/positive thoughts.  This is promoted by a balanced life and looking after oneself.  If you can do this, it will promote your body to heal itself.

    If you can activate the parasympathetic state as much as possible its helps to heal ill heath, both mental and physical.

    At certain parts of the day or after a hard day’s work you may feel fatigued or lethargic.  This is not something you should fight or believe is unhealthy.  Rather, it indicates a state of rebuilding and repair in progress.


    • The sympathetic and parasympathetic system cannot both work at the same time.  Either one or the other is working.  The sympathetic is the one that will always take over if there is a perceive threat of survival.
    • The goal is to try and turn off the sympathetic nervous system in order to promote balance and healing. Simple ways to do this is rest, meditate, relax, hot bath, happy thoughts, good diet, exercise, message, etc.  If you are always stressed, angry, negative, resentful, push yourself above your endurance, eat a poor diet, then the body will shift towards the sympathetic side.

    Think of your body as a car.  The sympathetic is the accelerator pedal on the car.  It gets you all ‘revved up’.  The parasympathetic is like the break.  However, unlike a car, when the brake is applied is begins to heal oneself.

    In today's frantic life more and more people are experiencing anxiety and panic problems.  These people do not have balanced autonomic systems.  The fight or flight response has been developed over thousands of years when we were cavemen in prehistoric times.  Back then it’s was useful if we came across a saber toothed-tiger or another tribe we needed to run or fight.

    Fight Or Flight

    But today are threats are more physiological.

    -Your boss has just shouted at you

    -A car cuts you up on the motorway

    -It’s getting near the end of the month and you’re short of money again

    -Your neighbour has just put a shed up in the back garden and its blocking the view you use to have.

    All these scenarios cause worry, anger, resentment, and fear – negative thoughts

    The balanced individual

    When the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system work together (as they should), a person can rest and relax easily, and quite often.  If the need arises the person can also perform quickly and competently.   If a challenging, stressful situation arises they are able to respond with energy, enthusiasm and dynamism.

    A balanced person can choose to rest easily and sleep deeply.  The parasympathetic system will take over and reduce the activity of the brain, muscles and glands.


    Some people are more prone to remaining in a sympathetic state.  This is generally caused by two things

    • Some sort of prolonged state of stress like the loss of a loved one, stressful job, financial pressures, etc.
    • Not looking after one’s body and burning the candle at both ends.  So this could be lack of sleep, poor nutrition, too much alcohol, drugs, not relaxing and enjoying yourself as much, etc.

    Anxiety and panic can affect any person although a genetic disposition and how we were brought up is also a factor.

    People who tend to be more outgoing, aggressive and hostile at times, often sweat more, have higher blood pressure and sugar levels, and more frequent bowel movements.

    These people are more prone to feeling, irritability, nervousness and anxiety.  The sympathetic nervous system is more active and firing off the adrenal glands.

    However anxiety can also affect less outward people.  If you tend to internalize everything, over analyze and tend to be a deep thinker then it canthoughts panic attacks happen to you as well.  If social situations are difficult and you may have been a shy anyway, then any unusual sensation can be magnified into something catastrophic.


    As I have stated when the sympathetic system dominates your body it can lead to a person being sensitized to certain situations.  So standing in a queue of people now becomes a nightmare and a panic attack waiting to happen.  This is more a mental and lifestyle tendency than anything else.  The sympathetic system is exhausted and the world they perceive continues to stimulate it.  As a result, the body is not sent back to the parasympathetic state to rebuild and heal.  Eventually the body becomes nutritionally depleted and the person becomes literally ‘burnt out.’

    Unfortunately in today’s society children are also suffering more panic attacks and anxiety due to poor diets, stress, difficult upbringing and nutritional deficiencies.

    Causes of panic attacks. 

    There are several causes as I have stated above. It’s mainly a life style pattern.  Some people analyze too much or worry excessively, others have too much work.  These are lifestyles issues.

    Others spend too much time thinking negatively.  They live in fear, anger or resentment.  They walk, eat, talk and think at a rapid pace, faster than what their bodies can cope with.  They have poor nutrition, which adds to their feeling of panic and anxiety.

    With today’s 24hrs news (which is mainly bad) this promotes fearful thinking.  Also we live in an age where we have more knowledge about the world – good or bad.

    If you take the above along with the pollution and toxic chemical in our food, air and water, you can see how our nervous system is being disturbed.

    The cycle of fear

    A person can become so used to feeling anxious and tired that when they get a good rest one day, they use up their energy the next, instead of continuing to rest.  In doing this they are not allowing their bodies to use the energy to replenish and heal.  They tend to stay out of balance and feeing nervous.

    The early sign of your body being in a sympathetic  or anxious state is much of the time you will be feeling tired and irritable.  As the condition develops you may find yourself feeling depressed, lethargic or moody.  Other systems will include, insomnia, rapid heartbeat, sensitivity to light, disturbed digestion, headaches, etc.  If this stage continues then this can lead to full blown panic attacks.  At this stage you can be paralyzed and crippled by fear and panic.  Functioning as a ‘normal’ human being becomes impossible.

    The Symptoms Of Anxiety

    anxiety symptoms

    A balanced person

    Well this doesn’t happen very often and this is what I’m working towards and you should be.  It tends to be seen more commonly in spiritually developed people.  I’m not saying that you have to go to church, but you have to learn to meditate and believe in something higher than just everyday moans and groans.  A balanced  person will live for today and not worry about the future or regret things they did in the past.  They will almost always be relaxed, and not react to stress.  Their mind, body and spirit will be in a state of peace and contentment.

    By doing this you can learn the discipline to think and live differently and change your lifestyle for a better, happier life.  One can reduce stress and strain on the body through rest, so the body can rebuild and replenish.


    Ways to keep you nervous system functioning properly.

    Practice Forgiveness.  This will place you in a position of power and compassion. If you allow yourself to feel like a victim, you will lose your self-confidence and encourage the fight or flight feelings.

    I did not name this website POSITIVE PANIC ATTACKS FOR NOTHING!  You must remain positive and keep thoughts and emotions uplifted and optimistic as possible.

    Improve your diet.  One the easiest things to do that will make dramatic changes to your health.  You need to cut out the coffee, tea and alcohol.  These are stimulants and will give you a lift initially and then you will feel the drop in energy later.   You must cut out the sugary cakes, sweets, chocolate, etc.   Keeping your blood sugar balanced is essential in overcoming panic attacks.  Ideally you should be eating 5 mini meals day.  Make sure you eat breakfast – as the saying goes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Your meals should contain a mixture of a protein, complex carbohydrate and fruit.  Its sound complicated but it’s not.  Please read my post on diets here.

    Find inner Peace.  I’m not asking you to walk around with a fake smile of your face all day.  As you know happiness can be short lived and you cannot possibley be happy all of the time.  People who walk around with fake smiles are often covering up their inner feelings of unhappiness.  Inner peace is a state in which you are totally content in your own skin and the world around you.  Even if the world is not to your liking you can choose to let go.  Finding inner peace is letting go of your demons inside and not trying to control things.

    Reduce your stress. Sounds like common sense which it is, although most us just get caught up in life and don’t see how stressed we have become.  Stress is  an activator of the sympathetic nervous system.  Amongst other reasons, stress and anxiety can arise in the body due to tiredness, fatigue, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, not enough relaxation, etc.  Stress can also come from psychological pressures such as a heavy workload, family stress, bereavement, etc.  You can also get stress from the environment, such as noisy neighbours or polluted water, air, etc.   Just think of the amount of chemicals you put on your body this morning – deodorant, shampoo, soap, makeup, etc.

    So in short reduce stress by looking after yourself, change your perception of what triggers stress and eat healthy.  Try to limit the amount of toxic things you come into contact with.

    Research is currently being done into electromagnetic stress from the use of computers, mobile phones, televisions and other electrical devices.  It’s best not to use these things too much and not to sleep to close to clock radios.

    Practice deep Slow Breathing.hyperventilation  You can help switch off your sympathetic nervous system and this reduces anxiety by slow deep breathing.  Like any skill it takes some time how to master but it can be very effective to reduce stress.

    Vitamins and Minerals.  Apart from just eating a more nutritious diet your body is probably run down so certain vitamins and minerals are essential to help it get back into balance.  Animal proteins are particularly helpful for the nervous system and brain as it contains proteins and fats which our nerves need.  These include the omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids.  Foods which are considered vital for a healthy nervous system are nuts, meats, eggs, beans, root vegetables and oily fish such as salmon and sardines.

    Supplements that are helpful in calming the nervous system down are Zinc, magnesium and calcium.  If you feeling run down it may be a good idea to take vitamin and mineral supplements.  B-complex vitamins are also important.  They can be obtained through  Animal Products (meat, fish, poultry, shellfish, milk, cheese, eggs, etc.), leafy vegetables, water melon, some fruit juices, etc.

    Other relaxing inducing nutrients are GABA, L-carnitine and L-taurine.  Herbs that have calming properties on the nervous system are skullcap and hops, passion flower, valerian, amongst others. My personal favourite is chamomile tea.  Research has indicated this will help and is definitely better then drinking caffeine in tea and coffee.

    Exercise.  Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce anxiety.  It eliminates  stressful chemicals and produces the feel good ones, like endorphins.  The exercise has to be vigorous though. By this I mean you have to get out of breath.  This can produce the symptoms of panic that your try to avoid (like feeling out of breath), but they CANNOT HARM YOU.  Challenge your thoughts and the benefits will become apparent.  If you think about it the fight or flight response means your body wants to do something physical.  In exercising you’re doing exactly what your body wants.  Just don’t push yourself beyond your physical endurance.  Just take it slowly and build it up one step at a time.

    Be aware of who and what truly gives you energy, versus whom or what mainly takes energy away from you.

    Do your best to stay grateful for what you have.  Just appreciate what you have and who you are.  Too often we look at other people and feel envious of what they have or who they are.  If you feel like this you will always be unhappy no matter what you have.  Be thankful for everyday and just live it to its full potential.

    Learn to relax and rest.  Makes sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep a night.  Do not eat a heavy meal before you sleep and avoid stimulants like tea or alcohol.  Learn to relax by meditation, hot baths, relaxing music, etc.  Listen to your body.  At certain parts of the day you will feel more like relaxing than others.  Do not fight this, it’s your bodies’ way of telling you it wants to just slow down and relax for a few minutes.

    Do not compare yourself with other people. This causes fear, resentment and anger.  If you look at the world it never seems fair from our limited point of view.  However there is often much that is hidden.  Maybe if you knew more about other people lives you would be less anxious to trade places.

    The circle of fear.  One the main reasons why panic attacks keep continuing in people is fear of fear.  If we strip this down its first fear fuelled by second fear. Dr Claire Weekes was one of the first people to recognize this.  If you can learn to stop adding fuel to the panic fire you can definitely heal a lot quicker.  So the next time your heart palpitates don’t think “I’m having a heart attack”, take a deep breath, smile and say “Every day I feel stronger and healthier”.

    Train your mind to stay away from negative thoughts that induce emotions of fear, anger and guilt.  These thoughts turn on the sympathetic nervous system and keep it active.  Meditation, challenging thoughts, diet, relaxation, distraction techniques can help.  It’s very hard to get better if you’re in a bad circle of friends or relationship.  Choose your friends and relationships carefully.  Think about whether your work, family and all your activities either help achieve inner peace or are a roadblock to it.   


    Everyone who suffers from panic attacks and anxiety will have an overactive nervous system.  It’s essential you understand that your sympathetic nervous system is causing this, and in calming it down you can be healthy and well again.  As with my story, panic attacks, anxiety, nervousness, whatever you want to call it, caused me to search for answers and question how I was living my life.  This led me to change my lifestyle, the way I thought and my eating habits.  This helped develop my inner potential and make me a better person.  If you are willing to change your thought patterns and lifestyle, you too can experience a state of contentment and bliss that comes with having a balanced nervous system.

    Good Luck!


    Have you experienced an over sensitized nervous system?    If so how do you overcome this?

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