When it comes to coping with the symptoms of anxiety, our bodies tend to know exactly what they need. However, more often than not, we do not pay enough attention. The breath is one of the most valuable tools we have to help us navigate life’s inevitable difficulties. The key is to consciously slow down and resist the “doing.” As we actively slow down, we gain the power of choice.
The power to choose our actions and the way in which we navigate our anxieties. A slow deep and controlled inhale and exhale out can help regulate our inner state by bringing in more oxygen and soothing our nervous system. Anxiety is typically accompanied by fast and shallow breaths. This can contribute to our feelings of dizziness and an increased heart rate. So, actively slowing our breath down and paying attention to the inhale and exhale process can be grounding and regulating. The hope here is to repeat and return to this process whenever we feel anxieties coming on. It may not rid of the anxieties, but slowing down, paying attention to the breath, and practice, will definitely help us navigate the feelings more effectively, without them exacerbating and becoming overbearing. Written by Könül Surofchy, MS LMFT