Correct breathing technique is important to your psychological health. Many anxiety problems such as panic disorder and agoraphobia are associated with rapid and shallow breathing. Consequently, the body is getting rid of too much carbon dioxide. The blood turns alkaline, resulting in a host of physical symptoms such as dizziness and pins and needles sensation.
The following exercise can help you to regulate your breathing back to a normal pattern (a cycle of 10 to 12 breaths per minute). Perform this exercise a few times a day.
- Choose a quiet place and sit in a comfortable chair.
- Put your hand on your abdomen as a means for feedback.
- Breathe in by pushing out your abdomen and breathe out by pulling in your abdomen.
- When you are feeling comfortable, hold your breath and count to 5.
- When you reach the count of 5, breathe out and say to yourself inaudibly “relax”.
- Next, time yourself with a clock or watch, breathing in for 3 seconds and then out for 3 seconds. (This will ensure you have a breathing frequency of 10 breaths per minute.)
- Say the word “relax” every time that you breathe out.
- At the end of the 1 minute cycle, hold your breath for 5 seconds.
- Repeat the 3 second breathing in and 3 second breathing out exercise.
- Do the entire exercise for at least 5 minutes.
Perform this exercise regularly. It is simple but effective.