Most people who experience panic and anxiety attacks regularly have forgotten how to breathe correctly.
If you think about it, consider how you breathe when you’re tense or anxious about something. If you’re like most people, your breathing becomes really shallow and you may even “sink” into your body, rounding your shoulders and slouching slightly. This often sets you up for feelings of fatigue as you breathing is too shallow.
Making sure fresh oxygen is circulating throughout your body helps to keep you alert and clear headed. When you are feeling anxious, you might slow down your breathing and thereby reducing the amount of oxygen you need.
The right way to breathe is to allow your abdomen to expand when you inhale. This allows the air to flow deeply into the pit of the stomach. When you’re feeling anxious, you may take very small breaths that don’t even allow air to get into the lower abdomen.
I walk you through a set of breathing exercises in my book Panic Away so that you understand how to breathe properly no matter what you are feeling or experiencing but basically you are looking to achieve more regular breaths that move your stomach up rather than all of the movement taking place in your upper chest.
At first, the breathing exercise might seem awkward or uncomfortable, but practicing regularly will help you adapt a healthy habit. You’ll notice that it’s easier to feel calm and secure and all it really takes is about ten minutes of practice a few times per day. Good breathing habits have a number of health benefits, so pay attention to your breathing pattern. You’ll be amazed at how a simple change can enhance your health and well-being!
Barry Joe McDonagh