When people become very anxious or experience a panic attack, their rate of breathing changes where they tend to take short, quick, shallow breaths which can make people feel worse. The person’s breathing becomes laboured, and they find it difficult to breath which is both uncomfortable and scary. In essence, these short, shallow breaths do not provide enough oxygen to the body and the person may begin to feel faint or giddy. Some people report that it seems difficult to breath in but this may occur because in their panic, they may have forgotten to exhale.
A simple technique to relieve anxiety or reduce the effects of panic is to slow down the rate of breathing to around 6-8 cycles per minute which regulates the amount of oxygen taken in. This technique can be used for stress management and many of the traditional methods of relaxation such as yoga, meditation, hypnosis use deep breathing exercises.
The breathing technique involves:
Breathing in and waiting to the count of five before exhaling.
Then after breathing out wait to the count of five.
Repeat this process for one minute.
Practice this technique twice a day, then use it in situations that cause anxiety.