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Chronic Stress, Panic Attacks and Natural Anxiety Relief

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If you’re looking to control or eliminate anxiety or panic attacks, methods of natural anxiety relief can be very effective. In this first of two articles I’ll begin to explain why.

I’ll also be discussing the impact that stress can have on feelings of anxiety as well as in the development a full-blown panic attack. After studying stress and its impact on health for over 20 years I can tell you that it plays a bigger role than you might think.

In the second article I’ll lay out a popularly used, method of natural anxiety relief that can be of help with typical, day to day anxiety producing events.

Alfred Cooley, a noted modern day researcher at the University of California, called stress, “The most widespread problem in America today.” He followed up with, “It is a major contributing factor in 100% of diseases. No one is immune.”

How can it be that the body’s response to stress, which is actually designed for our protection, could be implicated so strongly in making us more anxious even to the point of a panic attack?

Let’s take a brief look at how the body and more importantly the brain, reacts to stress and at how the chronic stress of modern day life can become a major factor in making us anxious, sick and keeping us from healing.

Simple Stress

The human body is very well equipped to deal with “simple” stress. Simple stress has a definite beginning and end point. A good example would be to imagine that you’re walking through the woods and are confronted by a bear. Your body immediately goes into “fight or flight” mode in order to deal with the perceived danger

You either fight the bear, climb a tree, or run away. In either case, you’ve handled the perceived threat. Now your body’s physiology can return to its baseline normal levels again. This will happen quite easily because the physical activity of evading the threat has burned up a great deal of the chemical and nutritive overload present due to the stress.

This is the classic stress response the body is designed to produce and then let go of, it’s a normal part of our physiological make up.

Modern Day “Complex” Stress

“The human body was never meant to deal with prolonged, chronic stress.

Pamela Peeke, University of Maryland.

Today’s pace of life is much faster than it was just a few decades ago. Studies show that on the job stress is at an all time high and worsening. Our technological innovations, designed to be labor saving, have actually created more stress. For many busy people it’s as if the rat race never truly ends.

This constant exposure to low level stress causes the same response in the body and brain as the “bear in the woods” does. Even though these are seemingly small, low-level stressors, the same biochemical and neurological responses are triggered.

Problems can occur when these responses aren’t fully discharged by fighting or fleeing before the next stressor arrives. Think about it, it’s pretty difficult to “burn off” all those chemicals as you sit at your desk or in the traffic jam in your car.

Scientists have coined the term “complex stress” for this phenomenon. It’s like a chronic “fight or flight” state, with the same chemicals secreted, and certain areas of the brain activated, but maintained over time with dangerous ramifications:

The University College, London published findings in the journal Science (2007), demonstrating that when people experience chronic, low-level stress the activity in the brain moves from the frontal area of the brain to the mid brain.

The frontal area of the brain is where decision making and rationalization takes place. The midbrain is where survival mechanisms such as fight or flight originate from.

What this new research is telling us is that people’s mental activity during prolonged stress has moved to the mid brain, the “survival area”, resulting in a heightened state of fear and anxiety. In essence, you’re like a walking panic attack just waiting to be set off.

A separate, survival oriented, part of your brain has developed a sustained more active status as a result of chronic stress and the fight or flight state which accompanies it. If a panic attack is triggered and an even more heightened state of fear starts, it is very difficult to calm yourself down.

Deep breathing and relaxation techniques usually don’t significantly help, because it is brain activity that needs to be changed. It must move back into the more rational frontal area.

This is where a quality, all natural anxiety relief program, designed to facilitate this “shift”, can be very effective and beneficial in calming the mind and in preventing future panic attacks. In fact, my research shows that programs of this type are fast becoming recognized as the method of choice in dealing with generalized anxiety and panic attacks.

To sum things up:

The chronic, low-level stress of modern day living can lead to a shift of brain activity into “survival mode” creating feelings of anxiety that may lead to an all-out panic attack.

During the panic attack your brain has shifted into panic mode. In order to restore calm, you need to learn how to “switch” your mental activity from the survival part of your brain back into the rational part.

Utilizing a well-designed all natural anxiety relief technique will allow you to do so in a split second regardless of where you are or what you are doing.

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Source by Kevin R. Brantly

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