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Coping With Panic Attacks Tips: Deep Abdominal Breathing

Jun 11, 2008
Of all the symptoms that a panic attacks sufferer experiences during a panic attack difficulty in breathing would seem to be the one that causes the most distress. Breathing problems associated with anxiety and panic attacks can run the range from hyperventilation where the breathing becomes uncontrollably rapid and shallow, to an almost total constriction of breathing where breathing normally becomes impossible. Because these breathing difficulties are such a common part of panic attacks virtually all methods of dealing with panic attacks, or at least those that don't resort to pharmaceutical drugs, have as part of their respective methods, controlled breathing techniques of one kind or another.

Deep abdominal breathing done in a controlled fashion is one of the most useful techniques in helping anyone cope with panic attack. A normal stress response during times of severe stress, like that experienced by someone suffering with a panic attack, is a dramatic change in the breathing rate. The breath becomes high in the chest and is very rapid, just like someone trying to catch their breath after strenuous exercise.

What further compounds this problem and what can ultimately lead to a full on panic attack response is that the person having the breathing difficulty begin to focus on their inability to take a deep breath.

Once our nervous system becomes aware of the breathing problem it gives us feedback that there is a problem and we need to do something about it. Unfortunately for the anxiety and panic attack sufferer they cannot do anything about it. In becoming aware of the problem and knowing they can't correct it they simply create more anxiety and panic increasing the intensity of their panic attack.

The vicious cycle of the panic attack has begun.

Through regular use of deep abdominal breathing the anxiety attack sufferer can begin to develop a powerful tool to help them cope with their anxiety attack. But this is something that needs to be practised regularly if it is to be used during the extreme anxiety and stress of a full-blown panic attack.

If you think of this as training for a sporting event. With regular practice sessions when game time arrives many of the skills you need will be almost automatic and there for you when you need them.

In order to be able to utilise this deep abdominal breathing during the extreme conditions of an actual panic attack a reasonable amount of familiarity with the technique needs to be in place. The best way to learn how to do this style of breathing is to practice it during times of zero stress and tension. And once you feel comfortable with the mechanics of the method you can then start looking for opportunities to practice and apply it during periods of medium level stress and anxiety.

As you can see we are taking the breathing technique we have learned in a neutral environment and slowly increasing our ability to use it in the field. In a very short time with regular practice you'll have access to this breathing technique and be able to use it to help you handle your panic attacks.

However the real benefit of regular deep abdominal breathing is how it changes your nervous system making it less prone to stress and anxiety and thus over time preventing panic attacks from occurring in the first place.

Practising controlled abdominal breathing is very easy. If you have not used this technique before, like any exercise start practising in a slow and easy fashion gradually increasing the length of time you practise this form of breathing.

You may not know this, but this way of breathing is the way our body is designed to breath. It is natural and normal. If you look at how toddlers breath you will see that they are belly breathers. As we get older for one reason or another we move into a more chesty way of breathing.

Don't think of this as learning some strange or weird breathing technique. What you are doing here is simply remembering with some regular practice how to breathe properly once again.
About the Author
Would you like to discover how to do deep abdominal breathing for panic attacks as well as learn more about coping with anxiety as well as panic attacks as well as getting your no cost dealing with panic attacks report visit www.anxiety-cures.org
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