experiencing anxiety? Just Breathe…

Just Breathe…

When we experience anxiety, our fight or flight system becomes activated. One of the changes that occurs when this system is activated is that our breathing rate increases. This helps to bring more oxygen into our system which is needed to fuel the muscles for action in a life or death situation. In modern society, this system can become activated when we perceive other types of threats such as immense workload, multiple looming deadlines, or delivering a presentation at work.

When we don’t use up this extra oxygen through physical exertion (as we would be likely to do in a life or death situation), the natural balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide become out of balance. This may lead to symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness and muscle tension. Continuing to breathe quickly maintains our anxiety, we may feel wound up and respond to situations with anxiety or panic.

Taking slow, deep breaths where we focus on our stomach expanding as we breathe helps to rebalance the oxygen and carbon dioxide in your body. This process may help to reduce your overall feelings of anxiety, helping you to respond to situations in a calmer way.

Breathing exercise for anxiety

If you are experiencing anxiety, you might find the 4-2-6 breathing method helpful:

  • Before you begin, just check in and notice how you are feeling.
    1. To start, breathe in for four counts. As you breathe in, focus on feeling your stomach expanding. In doing so, you will be filling your lungs with oxygen.
    2. Hold your breath for two counts.
    3. Exhale your breath for four counts.
  • Cycle through this breathing technique for one minute.
  • Before finishing up, check in again and notice how you are feeling.

If you require support to manage Workplace Stress or Anxiety, contact Uplift Psychology today.

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