Breathe Away Anxiety

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Do your suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder or Panic Attacks? Then take a look at your breathing habits. As we all know breathing is a vital function, but *how* you breath can direct impact on anxiety and stress levels.

Studies show that people normally breathe (inhale and exhale) 7 to 12 times a minute. But anxious people breathe as quickly as 25 times a minute, often without even realizing. Not only do anxious people tend to breathe quicker, but their breaths often tend to be a lot shallower.

Both these factors can cause low-level hyperventilation, which basically means the sufferer is over-breathing -- breathing too much. Before you know it you can find yourself caught in vicious cycle of poor breathing causing anxiety, which causes poorer breathing and so on.

The overall effect is blood levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide become unbalanced, blood pressure increases and heart rate goes up. Many vital functions within your body are kept constantly revved up -- is it any wonder anxious people often have a hard time relaxing?

As well as causing on-edge, up-tight feelings, over-breathing also causes many of the common anxiety symptoms: light headiness, shaky legs, feelings of nausea, a tight chest, dry throat.

Over-breathing also causes stress within your body. Your body’s reaction to this is to produce the stress hormone adrenaline which can create even more anxiety sensations and feelings. This stress hormone can be so powerful that it can trigger full blown panic attacks in some people, which is yet another vicious cycle of adrenaline causing fear, which causes more adrenaline release and so on.

These poor breathing habits can go unnoticed for an entire lifetime, but there are two simple ways to overcome them. And what’s more you can use these breathing tips induce a sense of relaxation which directly counters anxiety.

Firstly, through-out the day, periodically take a series of 3 or 4 deep slower breaths. To do this place your hand on your belly and feel it push out as you inhale -- when your belly pushes out it means your lungs are fully expanding. Taking those 3 or 4 breaths calms your heart rate and reduces blood pressure, instantly reducing physical effects of stress and anxiety.

Secondly, become aware of your overall breathing rate. Consciously try and breathe a little slower than normal. After a while of becoming aware and regularly consciously breathing more calmly you’ll find the habit becomes automatic. When this happens you’ll have eradicated your bad breathing habits and taken the edge of your anxiety!

For more information on how to conquer anxiety, click > AnxietyZap