Anxiety, Panic Attacks, and Relationship Counseling: Four Self-Help Tips For Calming Yourself When Intimacy is Affected.

Have you ever felt anxious because of relationship issues, to the point where you might sweat or tremble? What if your partner is not around to calm you down? Have you noticed other times when you felt detached from your surroundings, a choking sensation, or faint? In the first example you may have been experiencing normal anxiety. In the second, a possible panic attack. In this article learn the symptoms of both, and tips on how to help your self, so your intimate relationship can improve.

Common anxiety signs and symptoms include:
Feeling apprehensive
Feeling powerless
Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
Having an increased heart rate
Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
Feeling weak or tired

Signs and symptoms of panic attacks:
Panic attacks often strike when you’re away from home, but they can happen anywhere and at any time. You may have one while you’re in a store shopping, walking down the street, driving in your car, or sitting on the couch at home.
The signs and symptoms of a panic attack develop abruptly and usually reach their peak within 10 minutes. Most panic attacks end within 20 to 30 minutes, and they rarely last more than an hour.
A full-blown panic attack includes a combination of the following signs and symptoms:
Shortness of breath or hyperventilation
Heart palpitations or a racing heart
Chest pain or discomfort
Trembling or shaking
Choking feeling
Feeling unreal or detached from your surroundings
Nausea or upset stomach
Feeling dizzy, light-headed, or faint
Numbness or tingling sensations
Hot or cold flashes
Fear of dying, losing control, or going crazy

As you can tell, common anxiety is less intense than a full-blown panic attack. Relationships can be affected by anxiety or panic attacks, and importantly, a full physical could be a first step. At times medicine may need to be prescribed. Here’s what you can you do your self to reduce the effects of anxiety, and be aware of your body, when panicky situations arise.
When it comes to panic attacks, professional treatment and therapy can make a big difference. Here are four tips you can do to help yourself:
1. Become educated about panic. Simply knowing more about panic can go a long way towards relieving your distress. So read up on what anxiousness feels like, panic disorder, and the fight-or-flight response experienced during a panic attack. You’ll learn that the feelings and sensations you have when you panic are normal and that you aren’t losing it totally. All of us can panic at times.
2. Let go of smoking and caffeine. Smoking and caffeine can induce panic attacks in people who are susceptible. As a result, it’s wise to avoid cigarettes, coffee, and other caffeinated beverages. Also be careful with medications that contain stimulants, such as diet pills and non-drowsy cold medications.
3. Learn how to soothe yourself through deep belly breathing. Hyperventilation brings on many sensations (such as lightheadedness and tightness of the chest) that occur during a panic attack. Learn how deep belly breathing, also called “yoga breathing”, on the other hand, can relieve the symptoms of panic. By learning to control your breathing, you develop a coping skill that you can use to calm yourself down when you begin to feel anxious. Learn how to calm your self through your breathing, then you are also less likely to create the very sensations that you are afraid of.
4. Practice relaxation techniques. When practiced regularly, activities such as yoga, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation strengthen the body’s relaxation response – the opposite of the stress response involved in anxiety and panic. And not only do these relaxation practices promote relaxation, but they also increase feelings of joy and equanimity. So make time for them in your daily routine.

Normal anxiety, and sometimes panic, can happen in life, and in intimate relationship. Begin with self-help techniques such as the ones that have been listed, and be aware that a doctor’s assistance may be needed. As you learn to grow your resilience to anxiety and panic, you will become more empowered in your life, and in your intimate relationship. Enjoy the natural well-being you practice in your life as you educate your self, eat well, soothe your self, and grow your body’s relaxation response! Your marital or intimate life will improve too!


Jim Bowen MA LPC has been assisting individuals and couples since 1992, with offices in Boulder and Denver. Contact Jim with email or call him at 303-534-8717. Why not call for a free consultation?