Why breathing helps
When you notice your own early warning signs, regardless of what they are, they are due to the activation of the stress response (your sympathetic nervous system). You can read more on this by clicking here.
To calm down, whatever it is that you feel in your body, you need to activate your relaxation response (your parasympathetic nervous system.)
Different rates of breathing, result in different emotions and feelings in your body.
You breathe too much during a panic attack, resulting in hyperventilation.
What happens when you breathe too much?
Your heart rate speeds up.
You take in too much oxygen and your carbon dioxide levels lower.
This is known as hypocapnic alkalosis – or more simply put, your blood is too alkaline and makes you
suffocating or smothering feelings
And a host of other symptoms.
You can read more about the symptoms of anxiety by clicking here.
When feeling unreal, light headed and dizzy, you panic, which of course, makes you feel worse and your symptoms increase.
Breathing is something that your brain takes care of, it is normally outside of your control.
If you are having a panic attack, you are breathing more than you should be, and you need to take control.
Taking control of your own breathing will allow the anxiety to melt away.
Controlling your breathing will
Calm your heart rate
Restore the levels of carbon dioxide, and your uncomfortable symptoms will go away
How to take control
If it feels like you are gulping in air, or notice that your belly really expands when you breath in, you are taking in too much air.
The uncomfortable feeling of panic breathing will naturally make you want to breathe more deeply, but don’t.
Your over breathing is the problem.
Breathe in, through your nose, slowly, do not gulp.
Breathe out slowly, through your mouth, as if you were blowing up a balloon. Make sure your exhale is longer than your inhale.
Each time you breathe out, relax your shoulders, let them drop.
Wait for the next breath to come. If you are gulping in air, you probably started to breathe in, before you needed to.
Wait for the next breath to come.
What to do if you are controlling your breathing and your mind is racing?
It is normal to have scary thoughts during a panic attack. In addition to taking your control of your breathing, you need to ground yourself.
This will take your attention away from your thought