Wednesday, May 26, 2010

When you are experiencing heart palpitations

In a previous post, I discussed all the things I do to be healthy and prevent heart palpitations. But sometimes no matter how well I try to take care of myself, I'll still get those pesky misbeats. This has been an important realization as I used to get very depressed when I thought I was doing everything right and still got them. Now I just know that no matter how well I think I'm doing taking care of myself, life will inevitably get in the way and shake things up. Unexpected events, changes, chasing a toddler, fluctuating hormones, getting cut off on the road, etc. These are things that we have no control over and normal if we are to live full lives. Some stress is good. If we didn't have any, we'd be dead. But what do you do when you are stressed out and feeling the effects of heart palpitations? Here's what has worked for me:

--a glass of water
--splashing my face with cool water
--getting on the floor on my yoga mat and doing some gentle stretches (cat stretch, sun salutation, rock the baby pose)
--deep breathing (you can add meditative music, but sometimes I find it distracting)
--reaching deep inside myself and trusting my heart/body/soul
--reciting the mantra "This too shall pass."

But sometimes just trying to calm down, actually makes me panic more. Sometimes if the above doesn't work, the alternative is to get up and move. Go on a walk. Even if you're experiencing heart palpitations at 2 a.m., get up and start walking circles around your dining room table. Keep breathing slowly. In through your nose, out through your mouth. Or change up the scenery and go outside. You can enlist the help of a friend or spouse, but I've noticed that I really am the only person to help me through a bad episode. And when you have a history of being the one helping you through your panic, you don't have to rely on anyone else in the future.

[Disclaimer: If you have never experienced heart palpitations or have an underlying heart condition, please inform your doctor if you start experiencing them. I've had mine diagnosed as benign PVCs via EKG; thus there is no need for me to go to the hospital when they start bothering me. Of course, if my symptoms ever change or I start to feel lightheaded, I would immediately consult my cardiologist. But I've done the hospital thing in the middle of the night, and all they've ever done is hook me up, say yep you're experiencing palpitations, and send me on my way with a prescription for beta blockers (which I have never filled but that's another topic). So now I know when I start feeling them again, that it's best for me to stay home and work through them on my own.]


Allison said...

I want to thank you for creating such a helpful and comforting blog, I just ran across it. Literally everything you talk about I can relate to, plus it's refreshing to read about this from someone who is a Christian. I live in Austin as well and find this website to be comforting. Thank you!

Rose From ConQrete said...

Oh my Goodness! You are me, I'm almost in tears...idk why(hormones out of wack). I have been having heart palpitations since I've known to have had them in my teens, but recent scares and hospitals visit seem to have made me more ware of them and worst. I just had an episode about an hour ago out at Red Robin eating...I was doing much, but engaging in convo, and then I felt a lil weird like I felt the palpitation coming on and the boom...I ended up in the bathroom for 15 mins. Couldnt even enjoy my meal. I have had EVERY test run and my heart is fine, but it is just so damn scary! Recently, I just feel like I want to never leave my home. I was told I have anxiety....but I'm never really worked up when they happen, especially these last few episodes that have been really bad. My first hospital visit they diagnosed me with tachycardia and prescribed me a beta blocker and a whole list of other things which I do not take and flushed down the toilet. I dp however take 0.5 mg of ativan and recently starting taking a full tablet, I ussually just do half. I guess it has helped. Anytime I have heart palpitations it helps me to move and talk a lot, I'll walk in circles or hold a conversation so I can feel NORMAL and ALIVE like I'm not about to die. This post has given me soooo much life and reassurance! (Although I'm still not going to be totally fine until they xray my brain and rule out tumors etc)lol