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An Easy Breathing Exercise to Soothe Stress, Anxiety, and Panic

An Easy Breathing Exercise to Soothe Stress, Anxiety, and Panic

If you’ve been following us for the last year, you might have heard me mention that I’ve been dealing with a form of nervous system dysfunction that appears to be POTS (it’s an 18-month wait to get in for the official test, due to Covid). One of the most disruptive symptoms has been frequent panic attacks that come on suddenly, even when I’m not feeling particularly stressed or anxious.

After a lot of reading and experimentation, I found a breathing exercise that helps me shorten or stop the attacks. The great thing is, the same exercise can help you to calm down in any situation, whether something has just startled you, or you’re having an argument, or you’re trying to wind down for sleep. It’s easy and no one will even know you’re doing it. 

(Heads up if you also have POTS: because being upright is what’s causing your nervous system to freak out, this exercise will be most effective if you can lie flat or at least put your feet up.)

Inhale for 4 seconds.
Exhale for 6 seconds.
Continue for at least one minute, or keep going as long as you like.

That’s it! Told you it was easy.

Exhaling for longer than you inhale triggers your parasympathetic nervous system and calms the body and mind. You can also try some holds between your inhales and exhales:

Inhale for 4 seconds.
Hold for 4 seconds.
Exhale for 6 seconds.
Hold for 2 seconds.
Continue for at least 2 minutes.

Experiment with both techniques and see which one works best for you.

By the way, there are other easy tricks to get the same effect: Humming, singing, or speaking for longer stretches before taking a breath all cause you to exhale longer than you inhale, and will have the same calming effect.

Take care of yourself,

-Debra-



Debra Purdy is the owner of ShopEco, a beauty and self care boutique located in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Her mission is to help you thrive through self care you can feel good about. For more self care tips delivered to your inbox and a special birthday treat, click here to subscribe.

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Comments

Debra Purdy - July 8, 2021

Thank you, Melissa!

Melissa Martin - July 8, 2021

Thank you for this, Debra. Hopefully you get your test soon. Healing energy all around you. <3

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