When you hyperventilate, you take short, quick breaths in the top part of your lungs.
Your chest expands, but you aren’t getting the full amount of air that you need to remain calm. The quick overload of oxygen you receive from shallow breathing makes your apprehension and panic even worse.
It becomes a cycle that can be hard to break without practice.
Any time you can concentrate on breathing fully – all the way down to your abdomen – you’ll improve your relaxation response to stressful situations.
If your chest is rising with each breath, you’re not expanding your lungs to full capacity. Your body lacks the oxygen it needs to thrive under the pressure of the moment.
Place a hand just above your belly button and breathe. If you’re breathing deeply, your hand will rise and fall with each breath.
Practice breathing slowly by taking full, deep breaths. You might feel a bit strange at first because you’re not used to it. You may even feel a bit giddy, but that’s normal. It’ll pass with practice.
You’re getting plenty of air, even if you don’t feel like you are. Your lungs can expand without your upper chest rising.
Only your upper belly needs to rise and fall. At first, you probably won’t breathe this way unless you’re thinking about it because you’re so conditioned to breathe from your chest.
Keep practicing often, and you’ll soon be breathing properly all the time.
How Breathing Affects Anxiety
Anxiety may be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. It may simply be the product of over-active nerves that react too strongly to stimuli.
However, regardless of what causes you to feel anxious, the most important thing is to alleviate it and reduce the degree to which it affects your life.
Anxiety doesn’t have to stop you from living the life you deserve.
You already know that by lowering your anxiety, you may be able to:
• Change careers or get promoted • Speak in front of others without fear • Travel to places you’ve always wanted to see • Embark on a new relationship or business venture • Reduce your dependency on medication or therapy
If you’re contemplating reducing any medication or therapy you’re currently using, consult your physician before making any changes to your established regimen.
But you can still start deep breathing right away. There are no side effects, as this type of breathing is natural and healthy. And it’s something that everyone can learn and benefit from.
If you struggle with worry, you can feel more relaxed and in control by simply controlling your breathing. Begin practicing deep breathing strategies today.