How to STOP Heart Palpitations from Anxiety! (New Guide)

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If you’ve suddenly experienced heart palpitations from anxiety, then you probably want to know what they mean and if they are dangerous.

In this article, I’ll explain what these heart palpitations mean and give you 3 tips to experience fewer heart palpitations in the future.

Especially tip #3 you wouldn’t expect!

Let’s dive in!

The symptoms of heart palpitations

When you are resting, you normally don’t feel your heart beating. But if you can… you’re having heart palpitations. You can feel heart palpitations in your chest, neck and throat. 

Besides a racing heart, there are other ways you can recognize heart palpitations. Some of them are:

The Truth About Heart Palpitations…

But why do heart palpitations happen? It seems to make no sense, because they sometimes strike out of the blue! 

Do they really?

Well, when you’re feeling anxious, your body’s fight or flight system is activated. This happens when your brain perceives danger. When it does, a lot of hormones get released into your bloodstream, like adrenaline and cortisol. Your heart starts to beat faster in order for your body to get more blood flow. This gives you a burst of energy to fight or flight the perceived danger. 

These hormones give you the “on edge” feeling” that is often accompanied by racing thoughts. Yes, I know everything about these scary thoughts, because I have had them as well:

“What if… I am about to lose control?”
“What if… I have a heart attack?”
“What if (insert catastrophe).”

Sometimes you know what caused your heart palpitations, as you recognize the “treat”. I put those in parentheses, because you’re almost never under a real threat!

For example: an email from your boss, talking to random people at a party or doing something out of your comfort zone. 

But sometimes these “treats” aren’t clear at all… and your heart palpitations seemingly strike out of the blue. 

When this happens, you’ve probably repressed and suppressed too much stress. Your heart palpitations could be a sign that your body has had enough of it. Now even the slightest, silliest stressor causes your body to say: “stop! I’ve had enough of it!” and it activates your fight or flight response.

And when it does, you’ll experience heart palpitations.

What if your heart palpitations aren’t caused by anxiety?

According to Cleveland Clinic, heart palpitations from anxiety aren’t dangerous. But Wouter… what if my heart palpitations are not caused by anxiety… but by something dangerous? Like an underlying illness that needs a treatment!?

Good question. 

Besides the fact that most people who visit the hospital after having heart palpitations don’t get diagnosed with an illness, there is still a small chance that an illness is at play.

Some people might have arrhythmia or (AFib), which is an irregular heartbeat. When you have a form of arrhythmia the electrical signals in your heart don’t travel the right way. This miscommunication causes your heart’s two upper chambers to beat too fast.

The symptoms of arrhythmia are very similar to the symptoms caused by heart palpitations from anxiety. 

If you have regular heart palpitations, I recommend paying a visit to the doctor. Your doctor will use a few tests to identify the cause of the heart palpitations. 

When your doctor tells you that your heart is in perfect condition, this would relieve much of your anxiety the next time you’re having heart palpitations, as you know it is no underlying illness.

But as a disclaimer: if you experience chest pain on a regular basis or don’t trust your situation, always call your doctor for the right medical advice. When your chest pain is accompanied by pains in the upper abdomen, left arm and other locations, then immediatly ask for the right medical support as these could be symptoms of a heart attack.

How I Stopped Heart Palpitations In 7 Days

There are three powerful techniques you can use to calm your anxious response and slow down your heart rate. 

deep breathing

#1: Deep Breathing

The first technique to slow down your heart rate is to use deep breathing. When your fight or flight response is activated, your heart rate speeds up… and so does your breathing. 

Here is something interesting: when you start to breathe more deeply towards your belly, your mind thinks:

“Hey, I don’t understand this! I perceived some danger and want you to fight or flight, but you are acting like you are very relaxed and calm? Are you really in danger?”

Using deep breathing techniques, like this one, will help you to slow down your heart rate. If you find it stressful to focus on your breathing, you can also use muscle relaxation techniques. If you can combine both deep breathing techniques with progressive muscle relaxation, you’ll calm yourself much faster.

But this is important: don’t use these relaxation techniques to resist your anxious feelings. Don’t use it in the hope you calm down or prevent a panic attack. You never want to resist your anxiety. Use these relaxation techniques with full acceptance of your heart palpitations in mind, or to calm you down after a panic attack.

stress management

#2: Stress Management

When you experience frequent heart palpitations, your body is simply telling you:

“Well, there is so much stress in your life… let’s keep you on edge all the time. From now on I’ll keep the fight or flight response activated… just in case something dangerous happens!

Your days could be filled with stressful events, like major life changes, or a lot of background stress.

The fact is… if there is too much stress in your life, your body starts to believe you are in danger all the time. And when it believes you are in danger, you’ll feel more on edge and anxious. 

These anxious feelings can result in heart palpitations.

Therefore, you never want to ignore these heart palpitations and just use some breathing techniques to calm yourself down.

You want to work on the cause of your anxiety, which is what I’ll explain in my free limited-time training

You want to actively listen to your body when it tells you it has had enough of something, which is stress in your case. And when you reduce the stress in your life and learn new ways of coping, you’ll start to notice that your heart palpitations will become less.

yoga

#3: Exercise and other physical activities

The third method to slow down your heart rate is to use exercise and other physical activities.

When your fight or flight response is activated, adrenaline and cortisol are released into your bloodstream. These hormones give you a quick burst of energy, which results in a faster beating heart. 

But where does all this energy go to if you sit still and try to calm yourself down?

Right… it feels crazy uncomfortable! The excess energy will be absorbed by your muscles and especially in your upper body. 

Have you ever wondered why some animals in the African jungle shake their entire body after being chased by a lion?

It’s because they want to get rid of the excess energy that’s in their body.

I don’t suggest you start doing that at work whenever you feel anxious. But hitting the gym to get rid of the excess energy is a great way to feel better. And if you don’t go to the gym… why not try running, yoga or aerobic exercise?

Use physical activities a few times during the week to get rid of all the excess energy, especially after you experienced anxious feelings.  

Takeaway

You’ve now learned about the innocence of heart palpitations when caused by anxiety. Of course, make sure you check with your doctor if there are no underlying issues. This is important, because if you find out that there are no underlying illnesses… the next time you have these heart palpitations you understand that it is just anxiety.

Focus on deep breathing to calm your nerves when heart palpitations strike: not to resist them, but to calm your body down while practising acceptance. Last, focus on stress management and use physical activities to get rid of your excess adrenaline and cortisol.

But most importantly: focus on working on the cause of your anxiety, and that is what my Limited time training will help you with.

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Author: Wouter Manders

Wouter is a mindset coach from The Netherlands. For many years he suffered from depression and anxiety. It gave him the motivation to coach people on overcoming their anxiety, out of first hand experience. With more than 6000 blog visitors a month he helps many people on their road to having less anxiety.

About Wouter

Wouter is a mindset coach from The Netherlands. For many years he suffered from depression and anxiety. It gave him the motivation to coach people on freeing themselves from anxiety. With more than 6000 blog visitors a month he helps many people on their journey towards less anxiety.

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