Did you know that breathing helps anxiety? Let’s be honest, breathing is a pretty important thing to do, right?
I suffered anxiety and while it’s under control now, it will still raise it’s ugly head from time to time. The thing is I can say that I suffered it, not that I am suffering it.
If you have never suffered from anxiety, please don’t tell people to ‘get over it’ or that their anxiety isn’t ‘real’.
We know that! We know that having an anxiety attack is bloody stupid, we’re just going about doing our thing and all of a sudden, WHAM! We feel like we’re having a heart attack, we can’t breathe and starting to panic because of it, getting all hot and clammy and all we’re doing is the bloody food shopping!
So, how did I get to the point of being a sufferer to saying I suffered, as in the past?
I controlled my breathing
Believe me, it’s something that took a while to master because you can’t think clearly at all when you’re having an anxiety attack.
My personality is one where I need answers. So, the first thing I did was research anxiety. I didn’t just listen to my psychologist, I needed answers for myself, I needed to understand the process that my brain was going through.
When I did that, then I knew what to do for me, I understood what my brain was doing, even if I didn’t understand why it was doing it!
In a nutshell my understanding is this…
Anxiety is just your fight or flight response kicking in – when it isn’t needed.
Now, our fight or flight response is an important thing for everyone to have, when we are faced with danger, that is what gets the heart pumping and the adrenalin coursing through our veins to make us react quickly, to make snap decisions to run from danger.
Not so handy when you’re doing the food shopping…
So, when you’re having an anxiety attack, you’re brain has somehow been triggered to the ‘fight or flight’ response as if you’re in immediate danger when you’re not.
What I started to do when I realised this, was when I started to feel an attack come on, I would start taking big slow breaths, breathing in through my nose and filling up my lungs and then fully exhaling through my mouth until all the breath was gone, doing this at least five times.
When you breath slowly and with purpose like this, it actually helps re-fire your brain, so it helps stop that fight or flight response getting out of control.
Then I started talking to myself (in my head)…
Saying that there is nothing to be afraid of. I’m not in any danger, that this response isn’t needed, but thank you brain for looking after me. I have everything under control. Everything is OK.
It may sound stupid, but it worked for me, not overnight, this was a process I put into place for over a year but hey, it was worth it in the end.
Next time you think about your anxiety or you’re having an attack, how about instead of calling it anxiety, just acknowledge that you’re having a fight or flight response that’s not needed. And while you’re doing those big breaths, remind your brain that you are safe.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to get out there and live life without the worry of your brain having a fight or flight response when it’s not needed.
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