Breathing Techniques for Anxiety and a Panick Attack

by Vlasta Kuster

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Breathing techniques for anxiety are a good start to your journey in achieving tranquility, when you are exposed to stress for an extended period of time.

A person’s life in modern society is inevitably linked to stress. When an individual is exposed to it for an extended period of time, they become increasingly worried and anxious.

When you walk down the street, about one in four people you meet will either suffer from an anxiety disorder or will encounter
it at least once during their lifetime.

Anxiety is at the same time a physiological, behavioral and psychic response that affects a person in their entirety. It consists of feelings of discomfort or anxiety, concern, fear, apprehensiveness and constant physiological restlessness.  However, healing is possible if you make certain changes in your life.
Experts believe that with regular, daily deep-relaxation, anxiety problems can be alleviated or completely eliminated.

Furthermore, almost half of the human population will experience anxiety during one period of their lives in one way or another.

Regardless of a type of breathing technique for anxiety, it is essential to exercise daily for at least 5 minutes to achieve success.

Knowing how to relax slowly returns into your life and when anxiety is on the prowl again, you will have a valuable tool to calm down the internal storm.

Diaphragmatic Breathing Technique for Anxiety Leads to Moderate to Deep Relaxation in a Very Short Time

Learning to breathe properly is a very effective tool for managing anxiety.

Your regular breathing pattern directly indicates how much tension you carry in your body.

When you are stressed, you usually breathe shallow, fast and sometimes you even hold your breath but most of all, your breathing takes place high in your chest.

However, when you are relaxed your breathing is slower, deeper and runs out of your belly.

It is practically impossible to breathe out of your belly while being tense.

In order to achieve a relaxing response i.e. breathing with the diaphragm, try the following exercise.

You can do it lying or sitting and follow these steps:

  1. Check the current amount of tension. Observe if you feel any tightness, what your breathing is like and if you feel any unpleasant feelings. Rate the tension from 1 (full relaxation) to 10 (full tension).

  2. Put your hand on your belly just below your ribs.

  3. Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose, counting slowly to four (one - two - three - four).

    If you breathe with your abdominal muscles, your arm will rise  together with your abdomen.

  4. Stop for a moment and hold your breath.

  5. Exhale slowly through your nose or mouth, counting up to four slowly. With some technique, slow down your exhale and count to six. It is important that you  exhale all the air. Allow your body to relax while doing so (imagine, for example,  that your body is emptying like a flabby balloon and let your arms and legs  dangle loosely like a rag doll ).

  6. Rest again for a moment.

  7. Continue breathing by following steps 3 to 6 again and continue for five minutes.          

  8. If you start to feel dizzy, stop for 15 or 20 seconds and then start again.

  9. Recheck the state of tension in your body by rating it from 1 to 10.

Repeat the technique at least once a day for five minutes and ten days in a row.

You can breathe anywhere and at anytime.

This is how the diaphragmatic breathing technique will become a healthy habit with which you will achieve moderate to deep relaxation in a very short time.

Achieve Deep Relaxation Very Quickly
with Calm Breathing Technique

With this yoga-tailored breathing technique for anxiety, you can achieve deep relaxation very quickly. Perform it lying or sitting and follow these steps:

  1. Slowly breathe through your nose using your diaphragm. Inhale until you  slowly count to five ("one ... two ... three ... four ... five").

  2. Hold your breath and count to five again.

  3. Exhale slowly through your nose or mouth. Exhale until you count to five (or more if the exhalation lasts longer). It is important to exhale all the air.

  4. Inhale twice at your normal rhythm.

  5. Repeat the cycle of the first four steps. Keep at least three to five minutes or at least ten repetitions. If you rotate in between, stop for thirty seconds and then start again.

Breathe constantly with your diaphragm at a smooth and steady pace, without swallowing air or exhaling quickly.

With each exhale, you can say a reassuring word in your mind, e.g. "relax," "calm down," etc.

Perform the technique for five minutes a day for at least two weeks.

If it is possible, perform it at the same time every day in order for it to become a habit. 

If you continue for a month or longer, you will eventually breathe more with your abdominal muscles, which means that you will be more relaxed all of the time.

Summarized according to Bourne, E. J. (2010). The anxiety & phobia workbook. New Harbinger Publications, Inc. and Elliott, C. H., Smith, L. L. (2010). Overcoming anxiety for dummies. Wiley Publishing, Inc.

Breathing Technique For a Panic Attack

When you are suddenly stressed or you feel that a real panic attack is coming, you need a faster and stronger technique to relax, i.e. a breathing technique for a panic attack:

It is not easy to use this technique when you are stressed; however, with some practice it can help you slow down your breathing and calm you down:

  1. Take a deep and slow breath through your nose.

  2. Hold your breath and slowly count to six ("one ... two ... three ... four ... five ... six").

  3. Exhale slowly through your mouth and count to eight (“one… two… three… four…five… six… seven… eight”).

    When you exhale you should hear a slight hiss, with which you slow down your breathing much easier.

  4. Repeat five to ten times.

You can also help to treat anxiety by using a special form of energy therapy called the Emotional Freedom Technique or simply EFT, where inhale and, exhale are also part of the basic EFT recipe.

This is a form of psychological acupressure founded by Gary Craig. He believes that the cause of all negative emotions is a disturbance in the body's energy system.

Tapping works on the assumption that no matter what part of your life needs improvement, unresolved emotional issues always stand in the way.

This emotional stress impedes the natural healing potential of humans. The more you manage to resolve it, the more peace and emotional freedom it brings.1

The basic EFT recipe includes 5 steps that are easy to remember.

You might like these

Vlasta Kuster, holds an MA degree in Basic Medical Sciences and uses her 3-month EFT therapy in her work to help people to do away with panic attacks and anxiety for good. She has more than 10-year experiences in EFT therapy and achieves at least 90% success in permanently eliminating anxiety and panic attacks. You may contact her through her website