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How To Use Breathing Techniques To Control Anxiety And Panic Attacks

Aug 17, 2007
When you are experiencing a panic attack, one of the most important things that you must attempt to do is to control your breathing. Although it is difficult and may not strike your mind at first to do so, it is extremely helpful in calming down your body as well as your emotions. All those who suffer from panic attacks will suffer from an increase of oxygen flow into their blood and thus making their heart work harder than normal. For such people, they must learn how to 'breathe into their stomach'. It could save their lives.

Slow breathing into the stomach has shown good results in helping people halt panic attacks and prevent them from recurring.

Although it is a good technique for easing anxiety and panic, it can be quite difficult for a beginner to learn. People with malady like panic or anxiety always breathe into their chests. In addition, telling such people during a panic situation to try to breathe into their stomach could fuel the already tense situation. Instead, one must tell them to practice breathing into the stomach once they are back to a normal temper. The learning and practicing part is important so that whenever you have the next panic attack you can straightaway start breathing into your stomach.

Following are some tips that you might find useful in learning and application of breathing into your stomach.

1. Lie down on the bed with your chest facing upwards. Now place one of your hands firmly onto your stomach and the

other one lightly onto your stomach. Inhale heavily and try to concentrate only on allowing your stomach to fill with air and not your chest. The idea here is to make sure that maximum amount of air that you inhale goes into your stomach and minimum to the chest. The aim should be to breathe only six-eight times per minute. During the entire process, try to maintain a very relaxed state of mind and body, so that you do not feel anxious.

2. In case you still cannot do this try to use a weight a weight on your stomach. Use a book or anything between 4-6 pounds and repeat the process as stated above. Concentrate on allowing the weight rise when you take in air.

3. Well if even that does not work for you then try to get down on all four just like a cat. In such a position, the chest is, forcibly shut in one place and forces the stomach to suck in the air you breathe in. like both the above methods this one too should be done with very relaxed state of mind and body.

Try to do these for few minutes initially and then you can graduate to up to 15-20 minutes at a stretch. Once you have reached this level try to do it while sitting upright and then while standing and if possible even while you are walking.

After you master all of the techniques you should try to do this different situations like while sitting in your office or in your car etc. Such exercises will help you in coping much better in certain similar environments.


Though this is good technique and does not cause much strain, you should not try to go overboard or try to progress too quickly. Just do so gradually. Also, get a help from a friend or someone close by to help you while you are practicing. It helps to have someone else monitor your breathing and then commanding you to do it correctly.
About the Author
Joshua Poon is the webmaster and publisher of http://www.AnxietyPanicInfo.com. He had been counselling people with depression, anxiety and panic attacks. He also writes articles about self help, inspiration and personal development. So come and visit his website for Anxiety Treatments
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