Whether your anxiety jolts you like a hideously noisy alarm clock, nudges you with anxious thoughts, or gradually escalates this breathing sequence is good way to get anxiety to back-off.
It’s also a good way to start your day!
Step 1 – Take control away from the attack
Deep Breathing With a Long Hold of the Breath
- Breath in as slowly as you can
- Hold the breath for as long as you can
- Exhale slowly
- Take a couple of regular breaths
- Concentrate on your breathing
- Check in with your anxiety level
- Continue the sequence (deep breath – hold – regular breaths) until you’re feeling a little more settled.
Step 2 – Help your mind become more relaxed
Change The Focus and Slow Your Thoughts Even More
- Breath in and out normally
- Repeat as you breathe in – “Breathing in I calm my mind.”
- Repeat as you breathe out – “Breathing out I smile.”
- Smile as you breathe out. Even a slight curve of your lips helps create the relaxation response.
Step 3 – Help your body get rid of the chemicals the attack dumped in it
Do something physical – whatever suits your lifestyle, preferences, and the moment: Stretches, Yoga, Pilates, Walk, Run, Dance, etc.
Why It’s Important to Breathe Slowly and Hold Your Breath
In my experience, if I simply start breathing deeply, my anxiety increases!
It’s as though I’m sending conflicting messages to my brain, “Yes, I’m breathing deep as though I should be running away, but I’m not going anywhere! What the heck is going on!”
But when I take a deep breath and hold it for as long as I can my attention immediately focuses on holding my breath. Following that with normal breathing sends the message, “Okay, I was scared there for a minute, but I’m okay now.”