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  • Heather Hildum

Stop (Nocturnal) Panic Attacks


In lieu of previously writing about Nocturnal Panic Attacks, covering the signs and symptoms, causes, and now the ways you can rid yourself of these panic attacks (or anxiety in general) once and for all.


In my post on what happens within the body while having a panic attack, I mention the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS). This part of the Autonomic Nervous System that is all about resting and digesting. It brings us back to home base, repairing and restoring the body. When the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) is working, the PNS is suppressed. This is why being in a state of constant stress and anxiety can suppress the immune system, causing us to be in a less healthy state.


So how can we keep our bodies in a state of rest and repair? Answer: activate the PNS or parasympathetic nervous system. (I love using the acronym PNS, but honestly it looks like the word PENIS.)


Ways to activate the PNS to reduce your anxiety and lower your risk of panic attacks:


1. Meditate. There are many different apps for meditating and free tools right at the tip of your fingers if you search for them.


2. Yoga. This seems redundant because to me, yoga is a form of meditation. It can be about the flow of movement and the breath connecting your body and mind that brings you to a state of relaxation.


3. Relaxing the body regularly. Also seemingly meditative. Progressive Muscle Relaxation is one way to do this.


4. Breathwork. Count your breath in and count your breath out to match each other.


5. Yawn. Yup, you heard that right.


6. Physical sensation realization. Bringing attention to the ‘right now’ of what your physical body is doing. Such as, feeling the sensation below your foot as you take a step. In other words, be mindful of your body.


With a bit of trial and error, find out what works for you. Notice that most of the stress reducing techniques are of the mind and body. Some of the best techniques listed don’t cost anything. What it takes though, is your motivation, your own personal will to fix yourself. This is the tricky part of health and wellness. We know what’s good for us, so why do we torture ourselves?


I encourage you to try some of the most basic practices listed for more than a day. Set yourself up for success by choosing a daily practice, even for three minutes, for at least thirty days. Of course, if you feel something deeper, more pressing is going on with your body, only you can know this, and as always, consult your doctor.




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