Anxiety Tips and Tricks (Tip 4)

Breathing Exercises Don't Work For Everyone

This is more of a tip that turns into a trick, later.  

Years ago, after about 10 emergency room visits for anxiety attacks, one of the ER docs recommended that I try some deep breathing exercises.  Well, I did.  For about a minute.  Until the concentrated focus on my breathing became the bigger issue.  

Here's the rub:  some people (like me) with anxiety struggles hyper-focus on what are usually automatic bodily functions (i.e, the heart beating, swallowing, breathing, vomiting etc.).  This hyper-focus can lead some of us to the false believe that we have control over these naturally automated/regulated bodily systems.  

Will Breathing Exercises Work For Me?

A lot of people I work with want to know if breathing exercises are good for them.  My answer is almost always yes and/or no.

It depends on the variety of anxiety you have.  If you're like me and any time you focus on a bodily system you think you magically now have control over it, I would say probably not a great fit for you.  Sometimes the downside of conscious breathing can outweigh the benefit you get.  But, if you're one of the ones that doesn't have this challenge, why not try some breathing exercises?  After all, research suggests that diaphragmatic breathing can help get the nervous system under control. 

For people like me, there are far better techniques to help alleviate anxiety and live a more relaxed life… (we'll discuss these in upcoming 'tips and tricks')...

Next, we'll take a look at anxious brain chemicals...

What are your thoughts on breathing techniques?  


“Smile, breathe, and go slowly.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

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