One of the main symptoms of anxiety is rapid, shallow breathing. You feel dizzy, and the world starts spinning around you. Then, boom! You drop things out of your hands, and have no idea what is going on. This is because the way you breathe is directly connected to your nervous system. As your nervous systems gets out of balance, your breathing will speed up, and can cause you to hyperventilate. Hyperventilating is when your body draws in too much oxygen, and not enough carbon dioxide. Isn’t it ironic that an anxiety attack tricks your mind into thinking that it needs more oxygen, and in actuality, the reaction causes your body to inhale too much oxygen, making you dizzy, light headed, and forces your heart to race? You are probably wondering what you can do. The first step is breathing management, which you can learn through this 21-day online program on mastering stress and anxiety. Learning a variety of different breathing exercises, such as the ones described below, will help you to combat this, when your body starts to get overly nervous.
Start With the Basics
One of the most basic breathing exercises needs a bit of space, but is highly effective. In order to do it, you need stand with your feet a couple of feet apart, roughly in line with your shoulders. Straighten your shoulders, and relax. Once you are ready, slowly draw in a full lungful of air, and at the same time raise your arms horizontally, from the side of your body, to above your head. Hold the air in your lungs for a short while, and then gradually lower your arms, at the same speed as you exhale the air. Your arms should reach your sides just as all the air is exhaled from your lungs. If you are feeling stressed, keep doing this exercise, until you feel the stress leaving your body.
You will probably have seen this from the movies, when people who are overly stressed, start to breathe into a paper bag. There is a great deal of logic to this, because when you start to hyperventilate, you breathe in too much oxygen. To combat this, you need to re-balance the amount of carbon dioxide in your bloodstream.
By breathing into a paper bag, you are recycling the carbon dioxide that you have just breathed out. You do not need to use a paper bag, you can just as easily achieve the same result by cupping your hands over your mouth. When you feel an anxiety attack coming, use this technique and consciously slow your breathing down, until you feel the nervousness dissipate. This is not going to completely prevent an anxiety attack, but it can really help to manage the symptoms, and allow you time to calm down. It will also stop you from losing a large amount of energy, as when your carbon dioxide and oxygen levels are once again in balance, you will no longer feel dizzy. Moreover, you can also take preventative measures. This healing online course will teach you specific meditation techniques for relieving depression and anxiety.
Think Four, Seven, Eight
This exercise is quite flexible, as it can be performed in either a sitting position, or standing. In either case, make sure that your back is straight, and that you are not slouching. When sitting, rest your hands casually in your lap, and when standing, leave your arms loosely at your sides. Stare straight ahead, but do no fixate on any particular object. It can be helpful, to partially close your eyes at this point. The most important part of this exercise is to focus all your attention internally, on your breathing, rather than anything external that is occurring.
The key to this exercise is to separate your breathing between your mouth, and your nose. Inhale a full lung of air through your nose, and then exhale completely though your mouth. Try to keep the tip of your tongue connected to the top of your mouth throughout this exercise, nestled just behind your front teeth. As you inhale count slowly to four. Hold each breath in for a count of seven seconds. As you are inhaling you want to feel your abdomen pushing slowly out. This means that you are filling the lower part of your lungs.
Now, the real trick to this exercise is that you want to exhale twice as slowly as you inhaled. So gradually release all of the air you have been holding in, until you can count to eight seconds. You should feel your anxiety dissipating, as you exhale. Repeat this process for as many times as it takes for you to feel fully relaxed. The advantage of this exercise is that you can do it almost anywhere, and you will find that it greatly relaxes you, anytime you feel your stress level rising. If it makes you feel dizzy at first, pause, breathe normally, and then try again.
Monitor Your Heartbeat
Instead of concentrating on time, you can also use your own body’s function as a timer. This will help you to get more in tune with what your body needs, in order to calm down. If you sometimes suffer from severe anxiety attacks, then mastering this exercise, will be extremely helpful. In order to do this effectively, you need to find somewhere that is both quiet, and comfortable, to practice. You will also need to practice this exercise in times when you are not stressed, in order to be able to use it effectively when your mind is racing. It is somewhat similar to the breathing exercise above but uses your heart rate, instead of time, as the measure for your breathing. Perhaps you need a bit more exercise in your life? Check out this specific Kundalini Yoga course uniquely focused on healing stress and anxiety.
Once you have found a place where you can sit comfortably for at least a quarter of an hour, make sure that your back is straight. You can monitor your heart rate from your pulse, or just close your eyes, and feel your heart beating in your chest.You have to be in a place where you are not going to be disturbed, as this process can take some time.
As shared before, gradually inhale, by pushing out your abdomen, and counting until five heartbeats. Hold your breath for seven heartbeats, and then slowly exhale for nine or ten heartbeats. Do not perform this type of exercise if you have any kind of history of heart disease. It is important to practice this exercise when you are not stressed, in order for it to become second nature. This will allow you to do it naturally, when trying to calm yourself, during an actual panic attack. In addition, you should manage your stress levels. You can learn more by reading this informative blog on what anxiety headaches tell you about your stress levels.
Choose Something That Works for You
You can use some, or all, of these suggested breathing exercises. What really matters is that you find something that works for you. It is essential that, whatever exercise you choose, you practice it when you do not really need to do it. This will ensure that when an anxiety attack does occur, your mind, and body, is prepared to take instant action, to offset the effects of a full blown panic attack. If you often find yourself feeling overly stressed, and hyperventilating, then consult with your physician, to get the appropriate stress relieving medication. There are several very effective prescription drugs than can help to relieve anxiety, in addition to these breathing exercises. Don’t let anxiety attacks take over your life. Take advantage of these methods and resources, today!