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Breathe

Breathe (Photo credit: sausyn)

hyperventilating is a major part of a panic attack that can make us feel light-headed, detached from the world and weak.  It is terrifying and this is how the cycle starts because you become afraid of the panic attack which in itself creates anxiety.

I have been a sufferer of panic attacks for many years and when things are bad can have up to five or six a day.  However, in between panic attacks or when I am feeling stressed, I can feel dizzy and light-headed anyway which make me feel anxious.  It isn’t a panic attack but if a panic attack is ten on a scale of one to ten, this is an eight or nine and this can last all day.

What I discovered was that I was shallow breathing all the time, not quite enough to hyperventilate but enough add to my anxiety.  I also discovered that I had been doing it for so long that my body thought it was normal.  I had to learn to breathe normally again.

Read most literature and they will tell you 15 minutes of deep relaxation a day is beneficial, but because the thought of focussing on my breath made me anxious, this seemed an impossible task.  I hate the feeling of deep relaxation – it frightens me.  As soon as I focus on my breathing it no longer feel natural then I get fixated that I’m not breathing enough or a breathing too much.  So I started by simply trying to breathe to a count of seven and out to a count of seven ten times.  At first I could only count to four and only do that three times before I got anxious.  I didn’t much like the feeling of breathing in so deeply – it made me feel full, I’d almost say it actually hurt – but I did it every day and slowly built up to ten times in a row.  By now I was less scared of it and ventured into other relaxation like deep muscle relaxation and also some yoga.

I didn’t get very far with those but I found quite quickly that simple spending three or four minutes a day on purposefully breathing deeply made a difference.  I was less dizzy and light-headed and I did have less panic attacks.

When I began to feel better, although I kept running, I stopped practicing breathing – I never meant to but suddenly life got in the way (I could actually go places).  The last week or so have been difficult for me and I have begun to feel dizzy and light-headed again.  This post is to remind me and hopefully some of you that a little bit of practice can make a difference.

I am going to find three or four minutes a day simply to breathe.

I would love to hear if you have similar experiences to mine.

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