If there is one way to ease anxiety, it is to remember to breathe.
Of course we never stop breathing… unless we are dead… but we do stop deep breathing. All the time.
In fact, 90% of people breathe shallowly 90% of the time.*
If you are prone to suffering from panic attacks, being able to breathe deeply can bring you back to normal.
If you are prone to anxiety, deep breathing along with conscious relaxation can “cure” you of anxiety.
The key to making deep breathing work for you, though, is to practice it when you are not anxious or panicking. By the time panic hits, it’s too late to practice. It’s like a football team going out for the big game without ever meeting for practice beforehand.
Ok, practice time:
1. Take a deep breath. Push your belly OUT as you breathe IN. Imagine that you’re filling your belly up with air. Count to 5.
2. Breathe out. Push the air out of your belly. Count to 5.
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 five times. As you are doing this, let your eyeballs relax in your eye sockets. Relieve tension in your eyebrow area. Relax your jaw. Just let it hang down. Don’t try to smile or frown. Relax your belly. When you breathe in, really let the belly muscles relax out.
For those of you who practice yoga, this should all seem familiar. If you have done yoga before and this doesn’t seem familiar, you have not been doing yoga. Not really. Yoga without the breath is not yoga.
Now, the next step is to continue to bring this type of breathing into your daily life. Try it at work; try it with your spouse or kids at home; try it when you go to the store. The more you practice it, the better you get and the more relaxed you will be (or at least seem to be to everyone else)!
*This is not a fact, just my opinion.