Thwart Off a Panic Attack With Just Breathing

Your chest feels heavy, your breathing more shallow, and there is a rising sense of anxiety in your belly. IYKYK.

Panic attacks happen to the best of us and can occur without a warning or trigger. It often feels like your mind is racing with anxious thoughts, which then puts your whole body into a state of panic.

Research has shown, however, that simply breathing can shift your body out of that fight-or-flight response. When you take in more oxygen through deep breaths, your heart rate slows, and your mind starts to slow down. So, if you feel an attack on its way, here are some breathing techniques to try.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Place one hand on your stomach and the other hand on your chest. Slowly breathe into the one on your stomach. Aim for inhalations that are 4-5 seconds long and hold it in if you can. When exhaling, take your time, drawing your belly in toward your spine.

4-7-8 Breathing

This technique can be performed standing, sitting, or lying down. Inhale for 4 seconds, holding your breath for 7 seconds, and then exhaling slowly and controlled for 8 seconds. Do this at least 6 times. 

Alternate Nostril Breathing

You may be familiar with this technique from yoga. Close your right nostril with your thumb and inhale through your left nostril. Then, place your index pointer finger over your left nostril, release your thumb, and exhale through your right nostril. Repeat on the other side. 

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