Don’t forget to breathe.
In those moments of anxiety and panic, when your mind is racing, your heart is beating at 100 miles an hour and you’re not sure if you can get through the next 10 minutes, let alone the rest of the day, just breathe.
Yes, this seems obvious, but is it something you do to help manage your anxiety?
Try this exercise:
Take a deep breath in through your nose for five seconds. Then out through your mouth for five seconds. And again. And again. And again.
Do this until you start to settle, your heartbeat slows down and you feel like you have a little more perspective on the situation that was troubling you.
Even though breathing is essential, most of us spend our days shallow breathing, taking short, shallow breaths that don’t really allow us to take in enough oxygen and breathe out enough carbon dioxide. And for those of us that suffer from anxiety, this shallow breathing can exacerbate moments of anxiety and panic.
Deep breathing allows us to move from the sympathetic nervous system, which is activated in ‘fight or flight’, high stress moments (frankly, this is the system most of us, with our busy, highly stressed lives tend to rely on) to the parasympathetic nervous system, which is activated in calm, ‘rest and digest’ moments.
Have you used breathwork to manage your anxiety? Has it helped?