Tip #17: In the throws of anxiety when you feel like you can’t breathe, hold your breath for four seconds, then take one big, deep inhale.
The Why: Firstly I should mention that in this post I’m going for the highest usage of the word ‘breath’ in history. Let’s break records people.
The sensation of not being able to breathe is due to hyperventilation, which throws off the levels of carbon dioxide and oxygen in your body, making you feel like you are short of breath.
Sometimes, we hyperventilate without even realising.
To rebalance these levels, you need to stop hyperventilating. To stop hyperventilating, hold air in your lungs for four seconds. Exhale. Repeat. This will prevent the decrease in carbon dioxide levels, and stop the rapid breathing.
Then, try taking one very deep breath. Imagine pulling it into your stomach.
Once you’ve taken one big, deep breath you’ll realise you can breathe normally, that it is just anxiety.
Once you know it’s just anxiety, you can tell yourself to calm down.
Now whenever I feel short of breath, I repeat this pattern:
I hold my breath for four seconds. Exhale. Inhale. Hold my breath for four seconds. Exhale. Inhale. Hold my breath for four seconds. Exhale. Inhale. Then I try to take one deep breath. Once I’ve done that, I know that I can breathe again. I calm down.
Because of the association I have built, I know this truth: one deep breath and we’re back.