What is tachycardia and how it relates to anxiety?
A rapid heart rate, also known as tachycardia, is a condition that can occur when the heart beats at an abnormally fast rate. Although this condition is not necessarily dangerous and can be caused by intense physical activities or emotions, it can cause feelings of discomfort and fear. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to help alleviate your heart rate anxiety and manage the symptoms associated with it.
When a racing heartbeat is your body’s normal reaction to anxiety, it may be alarming if it persists for an extended period or is joined by other signs like chest pain or difficulty breathing. Luckily, there are various approaches that can assist in calming the heart rate and lessen anxiety.
There are several steps you can take to slow down your heart rate if you are experiencing anxiety. These include:
- Deep breathing: it is important to practice mindful breathing. Taking a few minutes a day to focus on your breath can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. To do this, sit in a comfortable position with your feet flat on the floor and close your eyes. Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose and out through your mouth, counting to four each time you inhale and exhale.
- Progressive muscle relaxation: Progressive muscle relaxation is a well-established technique that can be used to reduce heart rate and manage anxiety symptoms. It involves tensing and releasing muscle groups throughout the body while focusing on controlling breathing and calming the mind. The technique begins with tensing and releasing the muscles in the feet and gradually moves up the body. As your body relaxes gradually you will notice that your heart rate tends to slow as well.
- Visualization: Visualization techniques are an effective way of calming the body and mind when feeling anxious. This type of relaxation technique involves focusing on calming images such as a peaceful beach or a pleasant forest, as well as using guided imagery scripts to help process disturbing thoughts. Visualization is not only helpful for reducing heart rate and managing anxiety but can also be used as an approach to calm anxiety in general.
- Cognitive restructuring: Cognitive restructuring for anxiety is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) designed to help individuals manage their anxious thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It involves identifying and challenging irrational beliefs in order to create more realistic, useful ways of thinking. This can help people become less overwhelmed by anxiety and live more productive lives.
- Physical activity: Incorporating regular physical activity into your daily routine is another way to lower heart rate anxiety levels. Exercise helps reduce stress hormones in the body, such as adrenaline and cortisol, which contribute to increased heart rate during times of anxiety. Yoga is especially helpful in managing anxiety because its poses are designed to reinforce the connection between the work of breathing and movement. Other activities like running, walking, or swimming can also provide similar calming effects due to their calming nature.
When to seek medical help for tachycardia
When experiencing a racing heart rate and/or other symptoms of anxiety, it is important to seek medical help if the symptoms persist for an extended length of time or become worse. Abnormal heart rhythms, known as tachycardia, can cause serious long-term health problems if not treated properly. It is recommended that individuals contact their doctor if their heart rate is consistently over 100 beats per minute, they should seek medical attention.
This is especially important if you are experiencing other symptoms, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, or fainting. These symptoms may indicate a more serious medical condition, such as heart arrhythmia or heart disease.
In addition to consulting a medical doctor, it may be beneficial to seek mental health support from a trained therapist or counselor. Talking with someone who specializes in anxiety and stress management can help individuals learn healthy coping strategies and better manage their emotions. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can also be useful in recognizing irrational thinking patterns and developing strategies for responding to difficult situations without allowing fear and panic to take over.
Overall, there are several steps you can take to slow down your heart rate if you are experiencing anxiety. It’s important to remember that anxiety is a treatable condition, and seeking help from a healthcare provider can be beneficial.