Breathing is such a natural process that most of the time, we do it without being aware. However, when in times of stress, breathing can become rapid and shallow, adding to feelings of anxiousness.
Taking time to learn about different types of breath and practising simple breathing exercises for anxiety can help you overcome these feelings.
Nowadays, we don’t often experience these sorts of threats. But, when facing modern-day concerns, the brain will still produce this response.This increase in breathing, or hyperventilation, causes an upset in the balance between our body’s oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. You may begin to feel lightheaded, as this unbalance reduces the blood supply to the brain, and your fingers may start to tingle. Severe hyperventilation can even result in a loss of consciousness. 2
This reaction can increase levels of anxiety, exacerbating the situation. However, learning to control your breathing through simple breathing exercises can reduce stress and allow your oxygen and carbon dioxide levels to return to normal.
There are two ways of breathing. These are thoracic breathing (from the chest) and diaphragmatic breathing (from the abdominals).
The rapid, shallow breathing experienced when feeling anxious comes from the chest. This way of breathing can add to feelings of anxiety, as the intakes of breath do not feel satisfying, and can make you feel as though you are suffocating.
If focusing on your breathing in this way is making you feel more anxious, stop. It can take practice to feel the benefits of this technique, so try to do a little at a time and build up slowly.Some natural supplements can also be helpful alongside these breathing techniques to relax, reduce feelings of anxiety, and improve your sleeping patterns.
Last updated: 22 April 2020