Breathing difficulties and anxiety sadly go hand in hand, but you don’t have to suffer from either of them. This article will teach you how to breathe in a more efficient manner and how to address your anxiety once and for all.
To begin with, if you’re suffering from breathing difficulties, the first trip you need to make is to the doctor’s office. Breathing difficulties are nothing to scoff at, as they could be a symptom of serious underlying medical issues. Your doctor will examine your heart and lungs and go over your medical history to determine if there are any medical conditions that are making it difficult for you to breathe properly. Blood tests and x-rays may also be performed if the doctor deems them necessary. If your doctor gives you a clean bill of health, chances are your problems stem from anxiety, and only by treating anxiety will you be able to deal with your breathing problems.
The reason that anxiety so often causes breathing difficulties is because it makes you prone to hyperventilation. When you hyperventilate, you are taking quick, shallow breaths that do not provide your brain with enough oxygen. So you keep taking more and more breaths, but it’s not enough, and you quickly lose control of your breathing. Once you lose control, you begin to feel more anxiety, thus perpetuating the miserable cycle and often leading to a panic attack. A few side effects that are par for the course with hyperventilation include chest pain, limb weakness and dizziness. Unfortunately, many people employ poor breathing habits throughout their daily lives that make them especially prone to hyperventilation, whether they suffer from anxiety or not. If you feel that you are losing control of your breathing, it’s important to stop, focus and if possible, find a place where you can have some privacy. Concentrate and take deep breaths that come from diaphragm. Breathe in slowly to the count of five, hold for five second and then slowly release. Continue doing this until you begin to feel waves of relaxation. It’s very difficult to continue having anxious thoughts when your body is in a state of deep relaxation, so this is the goal you’re trying to achieve.
Meditation can also be very helpful, and a simple way to begin is by building an awareness of your surroundings and your physical feelings. Progressive muscle relaxation, in particular, has been shown to be very helpful in reducing anxiety. You can try this by tensing a particular muscle group for five seconds, focusing on the tightness and then releasing, making sure to focus on those feelings of relaxation. You can keep doing this for every muscle group in your body, and you’ll soon find yourself in a much more relaxed state of mind.
Try to eliminate caffeine and alcohol from your diet as much as possible, as both tend to instigate anxiety symptoms. Also, try to maintain a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Exercise is a vital component to any anxiety reduction strategy, and getting 30 minutes of cardiovascular anxiety on a daily basis is a godsend for people who suffer from anxiety. Cardiovascular activity is effective because it releases “feel-good” endorphins in the brain that promote mental well-being. Great examples of cardiovascular activity include walking, biking and swimming, but anything that gets your heart rate up will be effective.
Finally, cognitive-behavioral therapy is often effective for treating anxiety. This type of therapy helps you to pick out the distortions in your thinking that are leading to anxiety, and learn to replace them with more realistic thought patterns.
“Panic Attack Symptoms.” <http://www.webmd.com> 2 Jan 2013.