Breathing is something that we usually don’t think about, it is natural process and people rarely ask themselves are they breathing properly or not. Most of us just assume that we do. Now, the truths is that we might be breathing too deeply, or just taking too shallow breaths, either way it is not a bad idea to pay attention to the way we breathe for time to time since there are certain situations in life when our breathing can be crucial for resolving a health issue.
Using breathing to battle anxiety
There are different levels of anxiety, for some it occurs periodically and is triggered by a particularly stressful situation. For others it is more constant and can be quite debilitating to a point where it disrupts their everyday life. One of the main symptoms of anxiety, apart from rapid heartbeat and chest pains, is shallow breathing. This particular symptom can also be associated with panic attacks which are usually preceded by a high level of anxiety.
Now in order to help your body get out of this uncomfortable state, it is very important to learn to control your breathing and to use it as tool to overcome the feelings of discomfort. By taking control of your breathing you will be able to keep your anxiety at bay which will have an overall positive effect on your quality of life.
Now let’s see how we can learn to control our breathing.
In this case mindfulness means being observant of the changes in our breathing pattern. So as soon as your breathing starts to speed up and your begin taking shorter breaths you can asses that your anxiety is kicking in, and you can be ready to nip it in the bud.
Slow it down
Now that you are aware of the changes in your breathing it is time to take charge and start slowing it down. Slowly start taking control, make sure you take your time for each breath, around five seconds to inhale, hold the air in for two and then another five to exhale. Counting in your head is also a great way to distract your mind from whatever is causing your anxiety. So slowly inhale and exhale, repeat this pattern until you heart rate slows down and gets back to normal.
Long term management
If you are fighting anxiety on a daily basis your body might have gotten used to taking shallow short breaths, and this is something that you will need time to correct. In this case you need to fight the cause not the symptom. Include yoga or meditation in your everyday life. Both of these focus on breathing exercise and will help your body remember the proper breathing regiment. In addition you will also be able to learn how to steady your mind which can do wonders for your anxiety.
Other breathing issues you should be aware of
While breathing control exercise can do wonders for anxiety and the shallow rapid breathing associated with it. There are other breathing disorders that require additional help to control. One of them is sleep apnea, is a common disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops for 10 seconds or more during sleep.
This deprives our body and brain of oxygen and can cause people to awake briefly several times during the night resulting in some cases in chronic fatigue. There are numerous possible causes of sleep apnea, but what matters is that people suffering from this disorder get help straight away since long term health consequences might be severe.
This article has shown you how important breathing actually is, and that we should not take it for granted. Being able to take long deep breaths and sleep through the night is a luxury, one we should not take for granted.