Counselling4Anxiety Logo

Counselling 4 Anxiety

Online and in-person Counsellor in Knightsbridge, Marylebone, Marble Arch & Central London

First for Care, Counselling & Community

Breathing Exercise: A Key Tool During Panic Attacks and Anxiety

One of the things that I hear from clients is 'what can I do to slow down the panic'?

Well, I think that a combination of understanding how and why anxiety and panic may have developed in someone's life, allied to coping mechanisms and the reduction of stress, makes a long term difference and aids in their healing. This is long term work and means that incorporating this as much as possible through self-practice will reap rewards for someone with anxiety and panic attacks.

Breathwork though, is one key strategy in helping to manage the racing heart beat, feelings of panic and nervousness and agitation that take place when a panic attack occurs. The key here is breathing out and taking longer to breath out, than when breathing in. Allied to this, pursing the lips and breathing through it helps to lengthen the breathing out time of an individual.

I think that a useful measure  in breathwork is breathing in for a count of 4, holding for a count of 2 and then breathing out for a count of 6-8. The essential element is to take longer to breathe out and I encourage clients to visualise the term 'relax' in their minds when they breath out. Many have told me that this visualisation also focuses the mind.

Lastly, it is important to mention that the chances of someone dying during a panic attack are minimal, unless they have a history of cardiac failure or another ongoing serious cardiovascular condition. Panic attacks are not dangerous and this is the key point. For many, it is the 'fear of fear' that keeps the anxiety cycle fuelled. Therapists must therefore work with clients on this core point so that any behaviour patterns that have developed around the fear of panic attacks are not strengthened through subtle or more covert actions by clients.

Get in Touch