Inhale, exhale. Seems easy enough, right?
Those of us who suffer with anxiety or a panic disorder know this isn’t the case, especially when in the midst of a panic attack. Amid a racing heart, dizziness, sweaty palms and nausea, the act of breathing in and out is usually the last thing on our mind. In that moment, catching your breath just doesn’t seem possible.
However, a slow, deep breath could be just what you need to calm the f*@#! down. Deep breathing is known to restore a comfortable breathing pattern and remedy the physical effects of a panic attack. It’s also great for relieving muscle tension and bringing clarity to the mind and body.
Many of you may have tried deep breathing before, but to know avail. It might not be working simply because you’re breathing incorrectly. When taking a deep breath, you want it to start in your gut – specifically your diaphragm. This isn’t one of those breaths you take while the doctor is listening to your heart beat.
You want to be sure to fill your lungs from the bottom up. Hold the breath for a few counts, and then exhale slowly. Repeat this as many times as you need, or until your panic subsides. It’s also important to keep your breathing long and slow. Fast, shallow breaths can make the physical symptoms of a panic attack worse.
Deep breathing isn’t one size fit all though. There are a number of different breathing techniques and it may take a couple of tries to find one that works for you. One of my favorites is known as “triangle breathing”; I inhale for 4 counts, hold the breath for 4 counts and then exhale for 4 counts. Other techniques include the “measured breath” and the “bumble bee” breath.
So the next time you feel your anxiety taking a turn for the worst, stop, drop and BREATHE! The best thing is that you can utilize these breathing techniques anywhere and everywhere; in the car, at work, in class, etc. Now you have all the tools you need to tackle those “out of nowhere” panic attacks (:
Tried any new deep breathing techniques lately? How did they work for you? Let me know by commenting below.
Until next time,
Tanasia K. ❤