Breathing is something that is taken for granted and yet has enormous significance in the development and maintenance of anxiety. People who do get anxious will remember the breathing discomfort associated with it, hyperventilation is common among those who suffer from panic disorder. Over 50 years of research has shown us that, physiology and emotions are interconnected and modifying one may help in improving the other. In this article, we talk exclusively about breathing and how it can relieve anxiety.
When one is anxious, our metabolism rises, leading to an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate. The quick shallow breaths one takes while anxious leads to an accumulation of oxygen and decrease in the levels of carbon dioxide. This leads to a change in the Ph of blood -> Alkalosis. This change in CO2 concentration leads us to feel lightheaded, tingly in our fingers and toes, clammy, and sweaty. Thereby worsening anxiety and the whole cycle repeats itself until you are an anxious wreck!
Of all the automatic functions of the body — cardiovascular, digestive, hormonal, glandular, immune — only the breath can be easily controlled voluntarily, explain Richard P. Brown, M.D. and Patricia L. Gerbarg, M.D. in their book, “The Healing Power of the Breath.”. By changing breathing patterns we can command our brain to think differently.
Breathing exercises for anxiety and hyperventilation
1)Stop hyperventilating now!
Your heart rate and your breathing are powerfully connected. Test this out by feeling your pulse and taking deep breaths followed by longer exhales. The heart slows down slightly when you exhale. A decrease in heart rate will be perceived by your brain as a reduction in a need to be anxious. The next time you feel anxious, try this.
1)Find a calm spot, sit down and set your goals. You need to calm down.
2)Close your eyes and focus on the air that moves in and out of your body as you breathe.
3)Inhale through your nose, to a count of 4
2)Hold the breath for a second.
5)Exhale through your mouth for a count of 5.
Repeat for 10 minutes, keep your eyes closed throughout. You will notice that at the end of 10 minutes you are fairly relaxed.
Page 2 – To learn our second breathing exercise for anxiety and hyperventilation.