How 'Leaning In' to Anxiety Can Help You Deal With a Panic Attack

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Panic attacks are hard to describe to those who've never experienced one, and unmistakable to those who have. They're often characterized by light-headedness, difficulty breathing, and a sense of impending danger. These unpleasant sensations can appear suddenly and without warning, making them even more terrifying. Not all panic attacks look or feel the same, and as such they shouldn't be treated the same. But for some sufferers, a strategy recommended by one psychologist could help make episodes more manageable.

As Arash Emamzadeh writes for Psychology Today, "leaning into" the symptoms of your anxiety can be healthier than resisting them. That may sound counterintuitive: How can going along with the fear that something horrible is about to happen be good for you? But this method is less about giving into your anxious thoughts and more about tuning into your physical sensations and staying grounded in the moment.

There's some science that suggests this works. According to research presented in April 2018, just a few minutes of mindfulness meditation—being conscious of your body and environment without assigning value to anything you feel—was enough to reduce anxiety in people with anxiety disorders.

When you're having a panic attack, regaining control of your thoughts may pose a challenge. One place to start is by asking yourself some questions. Emamzadeh recommends "What am I feeling right now?," "What am I sensing in my body?," and "How am I interpreting these feelings and sensations?" If your panic is primarily related to thoughts about things that might happen, or have happened in the past, focusing on what's actually going on in your body may alleviate some of your fear.

Of course, this isn't the case for everyone. For some people, the physical symptoms of a panic attack—such as rapid breathing or a pounding heartbeat—may further contribute to the idea that something bad is happening and only exacerbate the sensation. If that's the case, try focusing on an unrelated sensation, like the feeling of your feet on the floor or a breeze blowing in your face. You can also try naming, touching, and describing objects in your immediate area.

This, of course, is only one psychologist's advice, and just because it works for some people doesn't mean it will work for all. The best way to prepare for a panic attack is to consult a doctor and figure out a treatment that's tailored to fit your needs.

[h/t Psychology Today]

Michigan Hospital’s Neonatal ICU Is in Need of Volunteer ‘Baby Cuddlers’

barsik/iStock via Getty Images
barsik/iStock via Getty Images

You don’t have to be an empty-nester impatiently waiting for grandkids to feel the urge to cuddle a newborn baby. And, unless you or a loved one happens to be raising a baby at the moment, the opportunity doesn’t arise all that often. But if you live in Michigan and have a little extra time on your hands, now is your chance to get the snuggle action that you (and the babies) have been craving.

MLive reports that Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw, Michigan, is looking for volunteers to cuddle, rock, and soothe babies in its Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It’s no surprise that the hospital takes the safety of its patients—especially infants—very seriously: All applicants must pass a background check, interview, and extensive training before gaining access to the NICU.

You’ll also have to make at least a year-long commitment to volunteer for four hours on a weekly or biweekly basis. Though the NICU staff could use volunteers every hour of every day, right now they only need people to sign up for the graveyard shift—between midnight and 8 a.m.

If staying up past your bedtime once a week sounds like a reasonable trade-off for four hours of tender, loving care and that sweet baby smell, you can apply on Covenant HealthCare’s website here.

Wondering why you now feel the urge to move to Saginaw just so you can cuddle Covenant’s newborns? You can blame evolution. Newborns aren’t so supremely snuggle-worthy just because they’re often soft and doughy; they also have large, round eyes and tiny noses, mouths, and chins. This configuration of facial features is called kinderschema, and it activates our instinct to nurture and protect, giving our species the best chance of survival. You can read more about it here.

[h/t MLive]

A Custom Wheelchair Allowed This Brain-Injured Baby Raccoon to Walk Again

фотограф/iStock via Getty Images
фотограф/iStock via Getty Images

Animal prosthetics and wheelchairs allow dogs, cats, and even zoo animals with limited mobility to walk again, but wild animals with disabilities aren't usually as lucky. Vittles, a baby raccoon rescued in Arkansas, is the rare example of an animal that was severely injured in its natural habitat getting a second shot at life.

As Tribune Media Wire reports, Vittles came to wildlife rehab specialist Susan Curtis, who works closely with raccoons for the state of Arkansas, with a traumatic brain injury at just 8 weeks old. The cause of the trauma wasn't clear, but it was obvious that the raccoon wouldn't be able to survive on her own if returned to the wild.

Curtis partnered with the pet mobility gear company Walkin' Pets to get Vittles back on her feet. They built her a tiny custom wheelchair to give her balance and support as she learned to get around on her own. The video below shows Vittles using her legs and navigating spaces with help from the chair and guidance from her caretaker.

Vittles will likely never recover fully, but now that she's able to exercise her leg muscles, her chance at one day moving around independently is greater than it would have been otherwise. She now lives with her caretaker Susan and a 10-year old raccoon with cerebral palsy named Beetlejuice. After she's rehabilitated, the plan is to one day make her part of Arkansas's educational wildlife program.

[h/t Tribune Media Wire]

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