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Mental Health,  Self Care

Breathing Your Way to a Calmer Mind and Body

If you suffer from anxiety, nothing is worse than feeling that familiar throat-clenching and chest-grabbing lack of oxygen that threatens to make you hyperventilate, pass out, or both. It’s really hard to get yourself back on track when you suffer from severe anxiety. You can ask your doctor for medication to help you but you can also try some simple breathing techniques to help you deal better with being anxious.

Realize What Anxiety Is – Everyone is born with a fight or flight response and severe anxiety is simply that natural response that went a little haywire. It is natural to feel anxious in most of the situations that you probably feel that way in. But realize that even though your heart is beating rapidly, you’re not likely to actually die from anxiety.

crop psychologist taking notes during appointment

Stop and Stay – Instead of allowing the panic response to take over when you are feeling extreme anxiety, stop and stay. If you allow yourself to escape, you’ll just train your body to keep up the overreaction response to normal stimuli. Instead, stop, and focus on something that is likely to be in any room, such as a light fixture or a clock.

Breathe in Deeply and Slowly – When your heart starts pounding and your breathing gets rapid, you tend to take in too much oxygen. The results of too much oxygen are rapid heartbeat, euphoric feelings and maybe even tingling hands and feet. Stop and close your mouth, breathe in very slowly from your nose filling your chest with air, and then very slowly let the air out by blowing it in a controlled manner out your mouth.

Try Holding Your Breath – If breathing slowly isn’t working, slowly actually try holding your breath first to help stop the panic feelings almost immediately. By stopping too much oxygen from going to your brain, you can give your body a chance to catch up so that you can practice the deep breathing method above.

Practice Makes Perfect – Most things in life do not come naturally, and neither does breathing like this. When you’re not in an anxious situation, try practicing deep breathing for about 10 minutes each day. Sit or stand in a comfortable manner with the upper body erect to give your lungs a lot of room. Breathe in deeply and slowly, pulling air in all the way to the bottom of your lungs and then letting the air out very slowly.

Practice Monitored Breathing – Do the above exercises and alternate between that and normal breathing. Most of us have got into the habit of very shallow breathing, which actually keeps us deprived of oxygen until we are having a panic attack, then we overdose. So when you do normal breathing, think about it carefully. Ensure that you are breathing into your diaphragm. Think about how a baby looks when he is breathing. That’s the right way.

woman closing her eyes against sun light standing near purple petaled flower plant

Breathing properly during times of stress can help you reduce your anxiety levels many times over, but you need to practice doing it when you are not anxious to ensure that you can take control of the situation when you are anxious. If your partner is with you, teach him or her to help you breathe by reminding you to stop, stay and breathe.

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Stephanie Pick
2 months ago

A very helpful post, thank you! Learning to make use of the tools we have available to us is so empowering.

Hannah
2 months ago

I really need to start on some regular breathwork. I know it will help me so thank you for the reminder!

Katie
2 months ago

I love breath work and recommend this with my clients all the time!

Akansha
2 months ago

I always say breathing is the most powerful tool humans have. And your post explains it beautifully. Thank you!

Nikki
2 months ago

Great reminder to be a bit more mindful of my breath. Thank you 🙂

Stephanie Pick
2 months ago

Breathing is an amazing tool for calming our minds. Thanks for sharing!

Belle
2 months ago

Thank you! As an anxiety sufferer I’m definitely going to implement these strategies 🙂

Elodie
2 months ago

Breathing exercises truly work! I recommend it! 🙂

Flawless World
2 months ago

Awesome tips! Breathing is a great way for calming your mind and heart down, and the best part is that you can do it wherever you are, whenever you want. Thanks for sharing!

Ambuj Saxena
2 months ago

Slowly and steadily, I have come to the realisation that Breathing well is a quint essential part of our living! Thanks for writing a nice article on the same.

Bruno Pereira
2 months ago

True, breathing is the most effective tool for managing stress (fight or flight response), but it isn’t for everyone at all times. We are human, and we grow by learning during the best times to handle the challenges well and not be absorbed in the bad times.
Thanks for sharing.

Kevin Foodie
2 months ago

These breathing exercises are perfect not only for people suffering from a panic attack, but can helpful for everyone to breathe their way into good mental health.

The Curious Dig
2 months ago

Funny how often we need to be reminded to breathe. Or at least breathe deeply and slowly. Thanks.

Jordan Nelson
Jordan Nelson
2 months ago

I love this! Taking a breath can be so beneficial. Everyone can benefit from this

jimmy clare | CrazyFitnessGuy

I need to practice more ways to clam myself down for a healthier mindset

Christina trama
2 months ago

I teach my students to breath when they are upset, I need to practice this more.

Fallon Jarneski
2 months ago

As someone who deals with anxiety on a pretty often basis, this was extremely helpful! Thank you for sharing.

Pam Malu
1 month ago

Great post and very helpful. I will try these techniques in my book signing event. Thanks for sharing.

I'm All Booked Up
13 days ago

These are really great tips!