Breathing technique for Panic attacks that actually work
Tiny cluster of neurons within your brains respiratory control center are in charge of auto generating different types of breath: regular, excited, sighing, yawning, gasping, sleeping, laughing, sobbing. It’s the rhythm, rate and depth of the breath that then arouses these neurons in the brain project a signal to the 'Locus Coeruleus' a nucleus deep within the the brainstem which then triggers a response – alertness, distress, relaxation, attention, excitement, anxiety or panic. In the case of a panic attack, your brain has perceived a "threat” in its environment and wants to get you out of danger. The neurons in the brain autogenerate a fast, short, shallow breath. It's this rhythm rate and depth the rhythm rate and depth arouses the neurons to trigger the Locus Coeruleus to activate your stress response, so the sympathetic nervous system kicks in (AKA fight or flight mode) heart rate increases, preparing the body for action. The “threat” your brain has detected, is most likely not a tiger jumping out, or life threatening situation, it may be an emotional trigger, a memory or even an email which doesn’t require a sympathetic response. So if you notice the onset of panic, you can consciously control your breath to send a different signal back to the neurons so that the brain responds the way you want. This simply means you can use your breath to override your panic response, hacking the brains control centre to create a calm response. If you feel a panic attack coming on or are experiencing one. Then firstly deep slowing the breath is key. When we slow the breath down we are telling the brain there is no threat! Specifically, when our exhale is longer than our inhale our vagus nerve acts to lower the heart rate and we activate the parasympathetic nervous system - the “rest and Digest” response.
What You'll Need
What You'll Do
- Inhale through the nose for a count of 5. Filling the the lungs from the belly first.
- Pause for a count of 5
- 3. Exhale slowly though pursed lips for a count of 10
- 4. Repeat 4 times.