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Get Closer To Nature To Handle Panic Attacks
Wellness

Get Closer To Nature To Handle Panic Attacks

Panic attacks and anxiety are part and parcel of our modern stressful life. With strict deadlines to meet, mortgages to pay, and conflicts to handle, we are more and more overwhelmed as time goes on.

Panic attacks occur when our body goes into "fight or flight" mode. According to research by David M Clark , panic attacks are said to result from the catastrophic misinterpretation of certain bodily sensations. "The sensations which are misinterpreted are mainly those involved in normal anxiety responses such as palpitations, breathlessness, dizziness etc., but also include some other sensations. "The catastrophic misinterpretation involves perceiving these sensations as much more dangerous than they really are", states the paper titled A Cognitive Approach to Panic.

There have been several studies on how one could manage these panic attacks and reduce the frequency of its occurrence. A paper published in the Journal of Behaviour Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry explores respiratory control technique as a treatment for panic attacks. The paper states that two weeks of respiratory control treatment can result in significant reduction in panic attack frequency. But, these methods are aimed at reducing the occurrence of panic attacks, but what to do, if you are going into a panic attack. The simplest and efficient fix is- get closer to nature.

A 2015 Stanford study assigned two groups of participants to take a 50- minute walk. The first group walked in a natural environment while the second group walked in an urban landscape in and around California. The participants were asked to complete a series of psychological assessments of affective and cognitive functioning before and after the walk. And the researchers found out that compared to the urban walk, the nature walk resulted in benefits such as decreased anxiety, rumination, and negative affect, and preservation of positive affect, as well as increased working memory performance. The study concluded that even influence of relatively brief nature experiences can cause a significant decrease in anxiety and stress hormone levels.

So, while breathing techniques are helpful in reducing the frequency of panic attacks, the best fix is to experience nature, even if it is a small patio garden or indoor plants.

(Image Credit: Pixabay)

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