Anxiety: Breathing Problems and Exercise
Almost everyone will experience some form of anxiety at some point in their life. However, some people are affected by an anxiety disorder that causes them to have frequent and severe anxiety attacks. These anxiety attacks generally lead to worrying or fear about normal everyday situations. Different types of anxiety disorders include social anxiety, panic attacks, or generalized anxiety.
How Does Anxiety Affect my Breathing
Anxiety can affect your breathing. When you suffer an anxiety attack, it will usually cause your breathing to turn rapid and your heart rate will increase. An anxiety attack can also sometimes make it difficult to fall asleep, or cause concentration issues and restlessness.
How can I Control my Breathing to Help my Anxiety
Yes, one of the symptoms of anxiety is rapid breathing. But conversely, you can try to control your breathing to help your anxiety. But how? There's basically two parts. One, try to focus on your breathing instead of other facets of your life that may be causing your panic attacks. And two, control your breathing by following these breathing exercises.
Deep Breathing Exercise
- Position yourself in a comfortable seated spot.
- Close your eyes.
- Breathe in slowly through your nose for 5 seconds.
- Hold your breath for 3 seconds.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth for 5 seconds.
- Repeat steps 3 through 5 ten times, all while keeping your eyes closed and counting the seconds of each step.
- Take one long breath in, and exhale while thinking of relaxation.
- Take ten normal breaths, then open your eyes.
Box Breathing Exercise
Box breathing is a breathing technique that is frequently used for meditation and relaxation.
- Sit in a straight up position with good posture and take a normal breath in.
- When you exhale, try to exhale all of the air in your lungs.
- Take a breath in slowly through your nose for 4 seconds.
- Hold your breath and count for another 4 seconds.
- Repeat step 2, and exhale all of the air in your lungs through your mouth.
- Repeat steps 3 through 6 ten times while thinking of relaxation.
Do Breathing Exercises Actually Work?
Short answer, yes, for some people, some of the time. The breathing techniques mentioned promote deep breathing, which comes from your diaphragm. The long and slow breaths will help to increase oxygen in your blood, lower your heart rate, relax muscles, and help you to focus on something other than what's making you anxious.
Do I Anything Besides Breathing Techniques?
Maybe. Breathing techniques do help to manage anxiety. However, severe anxiety is often a mental health disorder and should be treated by a qualified medical professional. A full treatment program may involve counseling or medication.