The Anxiety Diaries: Heart Palpitations


How cute is this heart plush? I want it.

At the very beginning of my new life with anxiety and crippling panic attacks, heart palpitations were my worst enemy. Nowadays, I don’t get them as often, but when I do, it ultimately leads to a panic attack lasting anywhere from 15 minutes to four hours or so. They are by far one of the worst things I experience, since I can literally feel my heart beating. Everyone has different situations that cause them to go into ultimate panic mode: for me, my biggest fears are not being able to breathe, choking, or that my heart will suddenly stop beating. Enter heart palpitations. Every time I can feel my heart beating so severely, I am just waiting for it to stop. It doesn’t make me feel better knowing it is still beating, it only gets me more anxious. So that leads to more anxiety and restlessness, which then makes the heart palpitations even worse.

It’s a vicious cycle with seemingly no end in sight. Have I mentioned how stupid panic attacks are?

Some nights, it is so terrible that I pass out as I am listening to the heavy, frightening beats, and wake up the next morning not sure how I managed to fall asleep. Other times, though, it takes me hours to relax.


Here are some helpful ways I have found that help me put a stop to the heart palpitations:

Distract yourself. It is by far the best way to start slowing them down. They won’t go away immediately, but if you can find something else to occupy your mind, they gradually calm. Personally, I have to get up and watch TV, read a book, or even write a blog post. The moving around helps as well as the mental distractions.

Get exercise. If you’re getting heart palpitations during daylight, you can go for a walk outside. In reality, any type of movement is helpful. I have found by moving around, I don’t notice the heart palpitations. once I think they’re gone, my heartbeats actually calm, really making them go away. It’s just a little trick I have learned.

Drink cold water. While you’re up, get a glass of cold water. For some reason, cold water slows down your heart rate and helps about 50% of the time for me. Mine get pretty bad, so I won’t lie and say this is a magical cure. Others swear by cold showers, but.. pass.

Perform breathing exercises. Anyone struggling with anxiety disorder or panic attacks should know proper breathing techniques. I’ll be honest here: they don’t work for me all that often, but that doesn’t mean they won’t work for you. Completely worth a try.

Things you shouldn’t do if you get heart palpitations frequently:

Drink excessive amounts of alcohol

Drink caffeine before bedtime

Take certain medications

Stay off Google. You WILL somehow end up on a page telling you palpitations mean an impending heart attack. Just don’t.