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Re: Starting Zoloft
Jul 15, 2005
[QUOTE=sherbear24]Thanks to all that has responded. Does anyone know the correct breathing technique that T panic was discussing? I'd really like to learn that. I have a lot of anxiety about health concerns, eventhough my doctor can not find anything relevant wrong with me except for extra heartbeats on my EKG. She said that is most likely due to my anxiety and nothing to worry about.[/QUOTE]
Hi, I posted this in another thread somewhere I think on the panic attack boards but I'll post it here too for ya. It's kind of long but it's a clear description of the breathing technique.
Hope it helps!
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Before you can take a deep breath "in", you have to give one away "out". Because, when you've been breathing in a short, shallow manner (from your chest), if you try & take a deep inhale, you just can't do it. All you can do is take a more labored, shallow breath from your chest. That will give you all the air you need, but it won't feel "good".

Breathe very shallowly a few times, then try to take a deep breath. When you breathe in this shallow manner, you get all the air you need to live, but you can also get other symptoms which add to your panic attack.

You get chest pain or heaviness, because you've tightened the muscles of your chest to an uncomfortable degree. (The chest pain people feel in a panic attack isn't from the heart, it's from the muscles of the chest). You feel lightheaded or dizzy, because shallow breathing can produce the same sensations as hyperventilation. & you also get a more rapid heartbeat, & maybe numbness or tingling in the arms, hands, lips, etc., as well. All from breathing short & shallow.

"Deep breathing" is also known as "diaphragmatic breathing", or "belly breathing".
Put one hand just above your belt line, & the other hand on your chest, right over the breastbone. You can use your hands as a guide to let you know if it's your stomach OR your chest or both moving. Your hands will tell you what part of your body, & what muscles, you're using to breathe.
Open your mouth & sigh, as if someone had just told you something annoying. As you do.. let your shoulders & the muscles of your upper body relax down with the exhalation. The point of the sigh is not to completely empty your lungs - "it's to relax the muscles of your upper body".
Hold that position for a few seconds.
Close your mouth & inhale SLOWLY through your nose by pushing your stomach out. The movement of your stomach breathing in this way pulls in more air than breathing from the chest. When you've inhaled as much air as you can "comfortably" (without throwing your upper body/chest into it), just stop. You're finished with that inhale. (I do the "inhale" for a slow 3 count "in".. 1... 2... 3... and that's comfortable for me. Everyone counts at different speeds & has different sized lungs so, you have to be the judge of what "count" in is comfortable for YOU).
Let your hands be your guide to let you know if you're moving your "chest" OR your "stomach" to breathe. A "deep" breath means to breathe "slow into your stomach" & not into your chest".

Your hands will tell you if you're doing this correctly or not. Where is the "muscular movement" of the breathing? You want it to occur at your stomach. Your upper body should be relatively still. If you feel movement in your chest, or notice your head & shoulders moving upwards, start over again & practice getting the motion down to your stomach.

Pause briefly for whatever time feels comfortable to you. But, be aware that when you breathe this way, you are taking larger breaths than you're used to. For this reason, it's necessary to breathe more "slowly" than you're used to. If you breathe into your stomach at the same rate you use with your small, shallow breaths into your chest, you will probably feel a little lightheaded from overbreathing. It's not harmful. If that happens, it's a signal to slow down your breathing. Ok, now the "exhale"........
Open your mouth. Exhale through your "mouth" by pulling your stomach in.... The "exhale" should be a little longer out than the inhale in. I do a slow 3 count breathing "in" and a slow ""4"" count breathing "out".
Hold it in for a second or 2 & repeat the slow "inhale" explained at the top then the "exhale" as explained above and that's how you do it!
I had to practice this while NOT having a panic attack to make sure I got it right because it's kind of hard to do your first few times so, you'll want to get it down while not having a panic attack at first. Once you get it right you'll know if you are because your hand on your chest should not be moving much at all or none when your stomach pushes in & out as you take the breaths. Stomach breathing = Deep breathing. Chest breathing = shallow breathing. Some people confuse "DEEP" breathing with regular chest breathing (breathing in, "blowing up your chest" as far as it will go) but that's not "deep breathing". That type of breathing into the chest is called "fast shallow breathing" & can cause you to feel sensations of hyperventilating (which makes us feel dizzy, lightheaded, numbness, tingling, etc.) You can't pass out from hyperventilating & it can't "hurt" you. the sensations if hyperventilation can make your heart race, numbness in hands, arms, face, dizziness & feel shortness of breath, etc., which is what most of us feel during a panic attack). So, that type of breathing can add to or make worse your panic attacks. This is why it's VERY important for us panicers to learn the "correct" way to "slow, deep" breathing as I explained above. I do this type of deep breathing during panic attacks now & have made every single one since go away in between 10 to 30 seconds. Mine used to last for 1 to 2 hours & my anxiety would go on from it several hours after. If your panic don't go away as fast as mine did just keep breathing slow & "correctly" until it does. It works best for me if I sit down & close my eyes too... So, if you're driving & can't get the panic to stop from breathing then pull over on the side of the road, relax yourself, close your eyes and do the breathing. If you have a child with you who wont understand then make something up & tell them something like, "we're going to play a game to see who can be quiet for the longest.. if you win you get a toy!!" (you might have to take them to mcdonalds for a happy meal with a toy later but hey! ya gotta do what ya gotta do, eh? & if it works then they'll just think your playing a game when you have to pull over & get yourself together & they wont be scared.) Even if you can't get them quiet, close your eyes & try to zone out of everything around you & focus on counting your slow deep breaths in & then counting out slow, etc.. I get really hot when I feel a panic attack coming on so, I like to keep cold water with me to sip on and hold against my head and back of neck to cool me down. When I feel one coming on I also, like to blow my nose to clear my airways to get ready for the breathing. Doing this with a clogged nose did freak me out a bit so, it helped to clear it out real quick just before. So, for the driving panicers, I'd sugguest a small ice cooler in the car with bottled water to cool you off & some napkins for the nose. wow! This post is long! BUT, every single bit of what I explained here has helped me to get rid of my FEAR of panic & STOP the panic FAST when it comes..
Good luck to all & PRACTICE THE BREATHING,
T.





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