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Anxiety is a serious mental health issue that luckily, in the last few years, has drawn more and more attention, so people start to really understand how serious it really is and to what it may lead to if it is left untreated. With the progress that has been made in the domain of medicine and the pharmaceutical industry, the symptoms of anxiety can be easily controlled with the right choice of therapy and lifestyle changes. We will discuss the use of certain breathing techniques that you can use the next time you experience an anxiety attack. Trust us – these techniques have many fans all around the world!
Anxiety – the basic facts
- Anxiety disorder is a term that refers to a wide range of emotional disorders that characterize with a rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, insomnia, restlessness, and reduced focus and concentration.
- There are quite a few different anxiety disorders – panic disorder, PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder), phobia, social anxiety disorder, OCD (Oppressive Compulsive Disorder) etc.
- It has been suggested that more than 40% of the adult population in the United States experiences some type of anxiety disorder in any given year.
- The characteristic symptoms of an anxiety attack are a rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, dry mouth, dizziness, distress, chills, hot flashes, etc.
- Anxiety disorders are effectively treated with the use of antidepressants and sedatives as well as calming methods and lifestyle changes including meditation, yoga, healthy diet, enough sleep, and many others.
Breathing techniques to help calm your anxiety
When you are feeling anxious, or experiencing an anxiety attack, you tend to breathe only in your upper lungs by taking only shallow, rapid breaths which contribute to the hyperventilation that you are experiencing at the moment as a result of anxiety. If you want to really calm yourself down, and your breathing as well, you need a breathing technique or two that will cause you to breathe in your lower lungs. By doing so, you will be taking longer, deeper breaths, that have a real calming effect on your brain and your whole body. In addition, by changing your breathing during an anxiety attack, you will be able to reverse the symptoms of anxiety.
The following are three very effective breathing techniques that we recommend you to perform not only when you are experiencing an anxiety attack, but also in everyday life.
- Abdominal breathing for which you are required to take a nice, slow breath through your nose, all the way to the lower lungs, filling only the lower lungs and nothing more. When you do so, you will notice as your stomach is rising up and your chest is staying still. Exhale easily through your mouth. We recommend this breathing technique to be practiced on a daily level, no matter if you are experiencing an anxiety attack or not.
- Calming breathing – or diaphragmatic breathing which we recommend practicing when you are experiencing an anxiety attack. To do so, please take a long, calming breath through your nose by filling your lower lungs first and then the upper lungs. Keep your breath for around 3 seconds, then slowly exhale through your pursed lips. Make sure that you relax the face muscles and jaw while exhaling. We recommend practicing this technique around ten times each day, so you are prepared when you face an anxiety attack.
- Relaxed breathing – for which you need to sit or lay down in a comfortable pose. Close your eyes and start inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth slowly. While you do so, focus all of your attention to your body, from the top-down. Start focusing on your scalp and try it to get it to relax. When you are done with your scalp, move to your face, neck, chest, abdomen, arms, legs, etc. until you reach your toes. This might take a little longer than expected especially in the first few attempts. However, as times passes and you get more and more experienced with it, you will require a lot less time to relieve the stress, relax your body and breathing – all of which are necessary when you are trying to beat anxiety attacks.
With the right breathing techniques you should not face a problem the next time you experience an anxiety attack, and perhaps even work to reduce the frequency of the anxiety attacks altogether. We recommend the three chosen breathing techniques which we discussed in today’s article, to help you calm yourself down and beat your anxiety attack.