Breathing Your Anxiety Away


Not only is breathing key to our survival, it can be a quick, easy and transportable strategy for relaxing and managing anxiety.

Breathing is something we do naturally, yet many people are not reaping the full benefits of this simple tool. The way in which we breathe greatly influences our physical and mental health.

Breathing deeply, i.e. using the diaphragm to draw and exhale breath, and at a calm rate has been shown to decrease unpleasant physical symptoms of stress and anxiety (including panic), regulate emotions, and assist with feeling more relaxed. It is a useful technique for gaining control when you are suddenly faced with acute anxiety symptoms, but also regular practice and mastery of this skill can be effective for chronic anxiety management. For example, you can decrease the severity, duration and regularity of panic attacks. You may even be able to prevent them from occurring. Relaxed Breathing

So, what kind of breather are you?

A simple way to find out is to sit comfortably, placing one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Close your eyes and breathe normally.  Which hand is moving the most?  Are you breathing through your mouth or your nose?

If the hand on your chest expanded, with little movement in the one on your stomach, you are a shallow breather.  This style of breathing is typical of people who are stressed and is likely to be contributing to your anxiety.  Count up to three as you breathe in through your nose.  Hold the breath in your lungs for three, before exhaling through your mouth for another three beats.  Repeat! There’s nothing to it.

Taking a minute or two each day to slow your breathing will help you to feel much more in control of your anxiety!