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When overcoming high levels
of anxiety, it is important to learn the techniques of natural
breathing. Many people who live with high levels of anxiety are known
to breathe through their chest. Shallow breathing through the chest
means you are disrupting the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide
necessary to be in a relaxed state. This type of breathing will
perpetuate the symptoms of anxiety.
The natural breathing
technique is called Diaphragmatic Breathing
(stomach breathing). We automatically breath this way when we are
born. Diaphragmatic breathing uses the diaphragm muscle ( a strong dome
shaped muscle) located under our ribs and above our stomach. When we
breath in, we push the muscle down, and our stomach moves forward. When
we breath out, the diaphragmatic muscle moves back to resting position
and our tummy moves back in. There is little or no upper chest
As we grow older many of
us change our pattern of breathing and start breathing through our
chest. This can be the result of a number of factors such as the
pressure on women to have a flat stomach, certain fashions, poor
posture, and of course anxiety.
Diaphragmatic breathing is intended to help you use the diaphragm
correctly while breathing to:
Strengthen the diaphragm
Decrease the work of breathing by slowing your breathing rate
Decrease oxygen demand
Use less effort and energy to breathe
Diaphragmatic breathing technique
1. Lie on your back on a flat surface or in
bed, with your knees bent and your head supported. You can use a pillow
under your knees to support your legs. Place one hand on your
upper chest and the other just below your rib cage. This will allow you to
feel your diaphragm move as you breathe.
2. Breathe in slowly through your nose so that your
stomach moves out against your hand. The hand on your chest should remain
as still as possible.
3. Tighten your stomach muscles, letting them fall
inward as you exhale through pursed lips (see "Pursed Lip Breathing
Technique"). The hand on your upper chest must remain as still as
When you first learn the diaphragmatic breathing technique, it may be
easier for you to follow the instructions lying down, as shown on the
first page. As you gain more practice, you can try the diaphragmatic
breathing technique while sitting in a chair, as shown below.
To perform this exercise while sitting in a
1. Sit comfortably, with your knees bent and your shoulders,
head and neck relaxed.
2. Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below
your rib cage. This will allow you to feel your diaphragm move as you
3. Tighten your stomach muscles, letting them fall inward as you
exhale through pursed lips (see "Pursed Lip Breathing Technique").
The hand on your upper chest must remain as still as possible.
Note: You may notice an increased effort will be needed to use the
diaphragm correctly. At first, you'll probably get tired while doing this
exercise. But keep at it, because with continued practice, diaphragmatic
breathing will become easy and automatic.
The following program is designed to teach you to
breathe correctly. It will guide you you to be medication and
panic attack free!
Dr Christopher Gilbert's Anti-Panic Mp3
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to help these disorders before they become disabling disorders.
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