3 Breathing Exercises to Calm Yourself During a Panic Attack

panic attack reliefToday I have a guest post about a simple do it yourself solution for treating panic attacks by Ryan Rivera. Ryan has an interest in helping others overcome psychological conditions like anxiety and panic attacks for example.

As you may have seen from my post on psychoneuroimmunology I have a keen interest in learning how to optimise your mind to improve your health and research shows we must. I know this post is headlined for panic attacks, but the advice on how to breathe is useful for anyone who wants to learn how to improve themselves. I have talked a bit about how to become a diaphragm breather and why it is so important. I know so many of you suffer from trapped nerve pain and this is another way to try control the pain levels in your body.

Three Breathing Exercises for Stress

by Ryan Rivera

Panic attacks are an overwhelming experience. While they may be technically an anxiety disorder, the experience of a panic attack is much more physical. It feels, in many ways, like a heart attack.

  • You cannot catch your breath
  • You feel faint or light-headed
  • You feel like something is horribly wrong.

Panic attacks may be mental health related, but they’re physical in how they manifest, and for many, this disorder can be devastating. How you react these panic attacks can often determine how severe the panic attacks feel, and how the experience is perceived. The more you calm yourself down during the panic attack, the less likely it will induce as much fear, and your recovery time will be easier.

How to Calm Down During a Panic Attack

One of the recommended methods of calming your mind and body during a panic attack is through careful, complete breathing. By taking very full, fulfilling breaths, you’ll be able to control the way your anxiety is experienced and calm your entire body.

Yet simply breathing isn’t enough, because during a panic attack you don’t want to breathe too quickly. You need to find a way to control it. Consider the following breathing exercises as a way to calm your body during a panic attack.

  • Simple Deep Breathing

The easiest method is simple deep breathing, a technique used in yoga and meditative doctrines. The easiest method of deep breathing involves sitting in a chair with your back straight and your arms lying on the armrest or at your sides. You then take a deep breath through your nose very slowly for about 5 seconds, filling your stomach first and your chest second. Hold for 4 seconds, then breathe out through pursed lips slow enough that it takes close to 6 seconds for the breath to be completed.

  • Tracing a Square

Another method involves closing your eyes and slowly/carefully tracing an imaginary square in your mind. Every time you turn a corner, you switch your breathing. So if you start at the top left of the square, you start breathing in. Then when you turn the corner of the square, you start breathing out. Continue tracing the square and breathing in and out until you feel better. Like with deep breathing, it would help if you can breathe in through your stomach first and your chest second, but if this doesn’t come naturally it may not be valuable.

  • Blowing a Candle

Finally, another breathing exercise for panic attacks involves thinking about a candle. Like with tracing a square, you close your eyes and imagine a candle in front of you with a flame that bounces around when lit. First you breathe in and imagine what the flame would do depending on the speed of your breath. Then hold your breath until the flame becomes still again. Then you breathe out slowly. Your goal is to try not to blow the imaginary candle out. Breathe out slow enough and think about what the flame would do at that speed until you’ve breathed out all the way. You can actually do this if you have a candle on hand as well, but an imaginary candle will suffice.

Creating a Breathing Exercise

The goal of these breathing exercises is to control your breathing and potentially create an effective distraction so you’re focused less on your panic attack symptoms and more on simply calming down the anxiety you experience during a panic attack. In addition to the above strategies, it’s also possible to come up with your own method of breathing that will calm your mind and body. As long as it’s controlled, and provides you with some type of mental distraction, it can be a very valuable way to calm yourself during a panic attack.

About the Author: Ryan Rivera’s panic attacks were overwhelming, and provided him with a considerable amount of stress on a regular basis. Once he overcame it he started www.calmclinic.com to provide stress relief strategies to others.