Does your heart start beating fast when you’re talking to your crush on the phone? Does it also happen when you’re asked to give a presentation in class? Do you feel it’s happening a bit too frequently? You might be suffering from anxiety.
It’s common for heart rate to increase when people are involved in activities that demand a lot of energy. If increased heart rates happen too frequently, it’s not normal, and it can be dangerous if you don’t know what’s causing it. Sometimes it may even make you feel like you have a heart attack.
Rapid heartbeat is a common symptom of anxiety. Here are 11 ways through which you can subdue rapid heartbeat and fight anxiety:
Rapid heartbeat due to anxiety can damage the heart. According to a 2010 meta-analysis, people who suffer from anxiety are 26% more at risk of getting coronary artery disease. Anxiety can also lead to heart failure. Poor cardiovascular health is common among people who suffer from anxiety.
Regular exercise strengthens your heart. According to a 2019 meta-analysis, people who exercise more tend to remain protected from anxiety symptoms. Moreover, a higher frequency of exercise can decrease your resting heart rate, which is vital if you want to improve your heart’s health. As you exercise, your heart strengthens and starts pumping blood more efficiently, which allows it to maintain a regular heart rate when you’re resting.
Some other things you can do to lower your resting heart rate include:
- Staying out of the sun – Your heart beats faster in the summer heat, so make sure you keep yourself cool. On a sunny day, take an umbrella with you if you’re going out. Don’t dine out, and most importantly, keep yourself hydrated.
- Eating more fish – Eating healthy is an integral part of improving your heart’s strength. According to a study by the American Heart Association, eating fish can lower your resting heart rate. If you don’t like fish, you can try taking fish oil supplements, but you should talk to your doctor about it first.
Lowering the stress – As stress increases, so does your heart rate. It may be impossible to reduce stress in many cases, but there are things you can do to keep yourself more organized and stress-free. If you’re struggling with work, make a schedule as it’s been known to help people become more organized.
According to a study published in 2018, relaxation methods like deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation can help lower heart rate and bring it back to normal. Deep breathing increases the release of neurotransmitters that reduce anxiety and reduce the chemicals responsible for triggering the fight or flight response.
Try this breathing exercise:
- Find a quiet place where you can sit.
- Put your hand on your chest and gently breathe in through your nose. Can you feel your chest rising as you breathe?
- Breathe out through the mouth.
- Repeat the steps and do them as much as you can. After a few days, you’ll start to see improvement in your breathing and your heart rate.
You can also try other breathing exercises if this one doesn’t help. Try the “same length breaths” technique in which you breathe in and hold your breath for four seconds and then breathe out and count to four. You have to keep your breath steady, and you can change the length of your breaths according to what you prefer.
Another technique you can try is humming breath exercise. Hum while breathing will stimulate the vagus nerve, which controls the heart rate. Put your fingers over your eyes and your thumbs over your ears and keep them covered. Inhale and exhale through your nose and hum as you exhale. Do it 5-10 times, and then stop humming for a while. Repeat the steps.
3. Tai Chi
Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that requires slow movements and deep breaths. It has many physical and emotional benefits, and regular tai chi practices is a great way to tame a rapid heartbeat and fight anxiety. According to two studies published in 2014 and 2017, tai chi can decrease anxiety and depression and improve cognitive performance in older people.
To start learning tai chi, you have to learn to slow down your breath and your movements. It relaxes your body and your mind, which tends to bring the heart rate back to normal.
4. Sleep well & manage stress
Proper sleep, enough rest, and remove stressors from your life can reduce a rapid heartbeat. Doctors recommend at least eight hours of sleep every night. Note that sleeping for too long can be harmful to your health and give you headaches.
Please remove all of your electronic devices from your bedroom and place them in a different room at least an hour before you go to sleep to avoid sleep distractions. Use a blindfold to block out any unnecessary light. Avoid anything that stresses you out. This includes lesser communications with people who always complain because that will only make you more anxious.
A neat and tidy room reduces anxiety, and thus, lowers your heartbeat. Enjoy the quality sleep that you deserve, and homeopathy will do its job to heal your body and mind.
5. Vagal maneuvers
The vagus nerve connects your brain to your heart. Stimulating the vagus nerve can help slow down your heartbeat. Before you try vagal maneuvers, you should first consult your doctor. Here are some ways you practice vagal maneuvers at home:
- Take a cold shower. If that’s not an option, try pressing a cold towel against your face for 30 seconds. Coldwater can help stimulate the vagus nerve.
- Try saying the word “Om” repeatedly. Chanting Om relaxes the body and normalizes the blood pressure and heartbeat.
When you exhale, hold your breath for a few seconds to trigger the parasympathetic nervous system and decrease your heart rate.
6. Drink enough water
Dehydration can often be the cause of a rapid heartbeat. Because the blood in our body is liquid, and not drinking enough water will thicken the blood. The thicker it gets, the harder it becomes for the blood to flow through your veins. The strain to pump the blood through the body increases your heartbeat.
The color of our urine is a good indicator of our body fluid level. If the color is dark yellow, then it’s time to drink more water. Keep yourself hydrated – it’s a great way to keep your heart from beating too fast.
7. Electrolyte balance
Electrolytes are essential minerals that help move electrical signals in your body. These electrical signals play a huge role in the functioning of your heart. Some electrolytes that benefit the heart are potassium, sodium, magnesium, and calcium.
You can find these electrolytes in a lot of different foods. For example, eggs, avocados, bananas, sweet potatoes, and spinach are rich in protein. In comparison, dark leafy greens and dairy products are sources of calcium.
If you have trouble eating any of these foods, then you can try taking supplements. But before you do that, make sure you talk to your doctor about it first! Electrolyte imbalance can lead to other problems.
8. Avoid things that trigger rapid heartbeat
Does your heart start beating fast after a cup of coffee? Certain substances can cause you to have a rapid heartbeat. You need to know what accelerate your heartbeat and avoid those triggers.
Caffeinated drinks can increase your heart rate. If you feel that coffee makes your heartbeat worse, stop drinking it every morning. Tobacco can also lead to an increased heart rate, so cut down on smoking if you feel that increased heartbeat and anxiousness every time you smoke. Some other things that can increase heartbeat include alcohol, cold and cough medications, anti-depressants, high blood pressure medications, drugs like cocaine, or methamphetamines.
Pay attention to what your body tells you. If you feel any medicine you’re taking increases your heart rate, then talk to your doctor about it.
9. Keep a journal
Writing down what situations make your heart beats fast can be a great way to figure out the cause of your problem. Most of the time, the rapid heartbeat is brought on by certain situations that can be identified and eventually removed from your life. Get a journal, and whenever you notice your heartbeat increasing, write a line or two about the situation that triggers it.
Show your journal to your doctor or therapist. They can help you to eliminate or gain some control over the situation.
In some cases, doctors might prescribe ACE inhibitors. These medications open or dilate your arteries, lower your blood pressure, and increase your body’s blood flow, resulting in decreased workload for the heart. These medications are usually given to diabetic patients or people with protein in their urine.
You can consider anti-anxiety medications if the leading cause of your increased heart rate is anxiety. Your doctor will most likely prescribe you anxiolytics. Anxiolytics will improve your mood. Once the anxiety fades away, your heart rate will decrease, and you’ll feel calm. You should avoid driving if you’re under the effects of anxiolytics!
11. A word of consolation
Rapid heartbeat is usually not something to worry about too much since everyone experiences it during strenuous exercises. However, if you notice that it happens to you too much, you can use the methods we mentioned in this article. A calming breathing exercise always comes in handy as the first remedy.
Unfortunately, not all the methods mentioned above are universal. Every increased heartbeat situation is different from the others. So it’s best to consult your doctor or therapists first.
Like a journal, a therapist can help you identify those situations that trigger the increase in your heartbeat. Exposure-response prevention is a therapy technique that your therapist can use to positively respond to people, events, or problems that increase your heartbeat.
Using this technique, you will face your fears head-on. Your therapist will guide you with coping methods that you can use to deal with your worries.
Alternatively, if you need to seek psychotherapy, be sure to check out ahealo.com. Ahealo is an online psychotherapy platform with a diverse range of psychotherapists for many different fields of mental challenges. Ahealo provides ePsychotherapy at an affordable price, confidential, convenient (through a web page 1-1 private video call), and at your comfortable schedule.
With these options, we believe your insomnia can be resolved soon.
Take care and stay well.