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  • Karla Johanna Schaeffer

When your Heart is Racing - Do this.



Heart palpitations and the feeling that your heart has skipped a beat or added an extra beat is very uncomfortable and can cause great anxiety. When your heart is racing, pounding or fluttering, we are immediately hyper-aware of our heartbeat and a very existential fear can set in. Sometimes you can even feel these sensations in your neck, throat or throughout your chest.


Some types of heart palpitations are harmless and resolve on their own without treatment. In other cases, palpitations may indicate a serious condition. That is why it is important to have the cause clarified by a medical doctor. If it has been ruled out that there is a serious cause, stress is often the reason for a racing heart, which we can do a great deal about.


Medical doctors speak of functional cardiac arrhythmias when there are no organic causes for heart problems.


Nevertheless, the signals of the body should be taken seriously and you should change something to calm your heart. Stress, high performance pressure, lack of sleep, nicotine, drugs, fatty and sugary diet and above all: too little endurance exercise - these are all factors that stress your heart and can trigger these very unpleasant cardiac arrhythmias. Since these things usually have a stimulating effect on the central nervous system, the heart is also stimulated to beat faster.


Another cause of cardiac arrhythmias is hyperthyroidism, since thyroid hormones have a great influence on blood pressure and the heartbeat. The hyperthyroidism then causes restlessness, muscle tremors and cardiac arrhythmias with palpitations - a racing heart. So I advise you to have your thyroid levels checked.


Women can experience heart palpitations during hormonal changes associated with menstruation, pregnancy and menopause.


Panic attacks and stress symptoms often occur with the same symptoms of a heart attack, for example. Once you have clarified and know that your heart and lungs are basically healthy, it helps to relax by understanding that chest pain or other symptoms are the product of an anxiety attack and not symptoms of heart disease.


Excitement of any kind, including stress or anxiety increases your adrenaline, causing your heart to beat faster.


Anxiety is something we all experience at times. Panic is basically the word used to describe a high level of anxiety. When people panic, many unpleasant physical symptoms occur in their body. These may include: a faster heartbeat, sweating, a tight and painful chest, shortness of breath and dizziness. Because these physical feelings of panic are so intense, they can be very frightening. And because of their severity, people often worry about having a heart attack, going crazy or fainting.


Dealing with anxiety can greatly improve your quality of life and take the pressure off your heart. Because as soon as people have thoughts that the body is caving in or working against them, they become even more anxious and their physical panic symptoms worsen. And as the symptoms get worse, people become even more convinced that they are having a heart attack or are going crazy. It doesn't take to develop a vicious cycle that continues in this way until someone experiences a full-blown panic attack. A panic attack is basically when these symptoms reach their peak.


In fact our body - our subconscious mind just wants to protect us by getting the body ready to respond to danger. Our fight or flight response which the body takes in panic situations would help us at this point in real danger.


Our hearts would beat faster (blood supply to our muscles).


We would sweat (to cool ourselves down).


Our muscles would tense (ready for action).


We would breathe deeper (to supply oxygen to our muscles).


Anxiety occurs when your brain detects danger, when there actually is none. This is something that can benefit a lot from professional help.

Especially by working with the physical symptoms and especially if you've tried everything and can't seem to get your anxiety under control.


I'd like to review a few effective tools for anxiety and for heart palpitations here.


Panic attacks are often triggered by physical sensations that you fear are either a sign of the beginning of a panic attack or a sign of a heart attack or other serious health problems. For example, if a racing heart or shortness of breath are triggers that set off your panic attacks, you can do exercises which calm the heartbeat and make your breathing more steady again. You're slowly teaching yourself not to be afraid of a fast-beating heart.


When your body panics and is flooded with stress hormones, various studies show that exercise and movement reduces anxiety because we can reduce the adrenaline rush that the body is exposed to. At this point I refer again to TRE® (Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises), with this method we can reset the acute emergency mode in the body in a short time. Some studies have even shown that exercise can be as effective as medication in reducing anxiety.


When we work with the body and move it, it releases painkillers in your brain to make sure you don't feel too much discomfort. These painkillers, known as endorphins, are the very same chemicals that make you "feel good" and relaxed. So while we are not frantically trying to feel less anxious and instead feel good, with TRE® or certain exercise in general, it happens automatically. This functions very much like an anxiety medication.


In addition, we also prevent the anxiety reflex, because conscious or unconscious muscle tension does not re-form as quickly when your muscles are relaxed after the exercise. This unused stress energy that our body mobilizes in anxiety situations is less converted into tension because there is simply less unused stress energy.


Sleep is also easier because your body needs to rest to recover from the exercise and we have calmed the body at a deep level. There is evidence that when our anxiety symptoms are weaker we have less anxiety in the future because coping becomes easier.


All this is ignored if we only try to treat the matter cognitively. Exercise, and TRE® in particular, makes us feel better physically and that has a powerful impact on mental and emotional health as well.


Good meditations that calm you down are also helpful.


Listening to music or be creative, like journaling or painting can have a positive effect on stress, as can breathing exercises. Sleep is also an important factor in overall health. So making sure you get a full eight hours each night to relax your body while you sleep limits anxiety.


Reduce stimulant use.

Stimulants like nicotine and caffeinated drinks, tea and coffee can make your heart beat even faster. Do less of these to keep your heartbeat steady.


Especially for a racing heart it helps to lower your body temperature a bit. The lower your body temperature, the slower your heart beats. You can cool your face with cold water, also the back of your neck. Running cold water over the neck stimulates the vagus nerve, which has a great influence on the heartbeat. The vagus nerve controls, among other things, the function of the internal organs such as the lungs, the abdomen and also the heart.

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