Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that two of the most anticipated concerts of the year have been officially cancelled. Pop music sensations Selena Gomez and Zayn Malik recently postponed their stand-alone Dubai gigs citing anxiety and panic attacks as their reasons. Gomez has been diagnosed with Lupus, an auto-immune disease that leads to her pre-performance anxiety attacks, while Zayn Malik has stated that he was anxious about performing solo, hence the cancellation of his “one night only” show.
These twenty-something celebrities speaking out about their health and anxiety issues is very significant, since it sheds light on and encourages discussion of an issue that can often be seen as taboo
“Some amount of anxiety and nervousness is normal as it actually helps you go through your daily routine and move forward,” says Dr Iram Ahmedi, counsellor and hypnotherapist at Miracles. “But when these nerves start to cause heart palpitations, excessive perspiration, irritable bowel syndrome and a general incapability to perform, that’s when you know you need help.”
While those pre-presentation butterflies are normal, Dr Ahmedi says having a positive conversation in your mind and being your own cheerleader is the first step anyone who may experience anxiety needs to take. “Stage fright is a big thing, as when you’re nervous, you go in this loop of repetitive, negative thoughts and more into thinking, ‘What if I can’t perform up to my previous standards and how is the audience going to react?’. These thoughts keep playing so much in the mind, they incapacitate the person.”
The symptoms and reasons for panic attacks can vary from person to person, but Dr Ahmedi has an overarching idea of what could be causing them for the current social-media-obsessed generation. “Social media and being hooked to your phone contribute to anxiety because they do not allow you to relax. And one of the key ways of dealing with anxiety is relaxation,” she says. “You’re always connected, so the stress factor increases, and those personalities prone to anxiety can fall prey to this.”
Aside from seeing a professional, Dr Ahmedi has tips on how anxiety can be dealt with at home, or in the office. “Deep breathing is really effective, doing yoga and going for a walk outdoors also helps,” she says.
“If you can work on stopping negative thoughts, that’s good too. When at work, have an hour in the day that is your worry o’clock – so only worry in that hour. As irrational as it sounds, it really helps, as you’re training your brain to believe that you don’t need to worry all day.”
Sound advice that we’ll certainly be trying in our own office…
Inner Space Abu Dhabi offers free wellness services and prices vary for a private consultation. www.innerspaceabudahbi.org (050 515 9646).
Four to try
Ways to relax in Abu Dhabi
AcroYoga is a blend of acrobatics and yoga. It elevates the connection between you and others through movement, connection and play.
Dhs75 per class. Every Wed 7.30pm-8.45pm . The Room, Zayed Sports City (050 994 6246).
Unlike what they show in horror films, hypnosis is akin to a dreamless sleep. It helps clear the mind and therefore assists with anxiety prevention.
Prices vary. American Center for Hypnotherapy, Sowwah Square, Al Maqam Tower (800 017 5701).
A great way to try meditation, body balance is a combination of yoga, tai chi and Pilates, with a five-minute meditation at the end.
Dhs60 per class. Various times. Les Mills Body Balance, Abu Dhabi Country Club, Al Saada Street, (02 657 7777).
Learn to gain control of your breathing and your inner-self with these tips on reducing tension and worries through breathing exercises and meditation.
Prices vary. Various locations. Art of Living Center, Kalyan Silks Building, www.artofliving.org (02 639 8421).