Poor breathing is a problem for many people living with anxiety. In some cases, anxiety can be brought on by poor breathing habits, but more commonly the experience of anxiety results in the creation of poor breathing habits by constantly stimulating the autonomic nervous system, ultimately changing the way you breathe.
Some common forms of poor breathing associated with anxiety include:
- Shallow Breathing—Breathing in too quickly.
- Monitored Breathing—Thinking about your breathing too much.
- Over-breathing—Breathing in more air because you feel you’re not getting enough.
Poor breathing habits can lead to a variety of issues, the most common of which is hyperventilation. Hyperventilation is responsible for many of the symptoms of anxiety attacks, including chest pain and rapid heartbeat.
The solution to poor breathing is, of course, learning healthier breathing habits. Proper breathing can be calming to the mind and body. Many people use breathing exercises to both stop hyperventilation and calm themselves when they’re feeling high amounts of anxiety, and with the right breathing techniques, you can actually reduce the extent of your anxiety and anxiety symptoms.
Breathing exercises take practice, so don’t expect them to work right away. But the more you practice, the better you’ll get, and the easier a time you’ll have calming yourself down during an anxiety attack or panic attack.
DISCLAIMER: Breathing exercises are for those considered in good heart and lung health and have been cleared by a doctor. Those that have heart, lung, or other medical issues that may affect or be affected by breathing should talk to a doctor before they attempt any breathing technique.