Shallow, rapid breathing is one of the key physical symptoms of anxiety. This means deepening and controlling your breathing can be an effective means of calming yourself down.
If you deal with anxiety, you’re probably aware it’s as much a physical condition as a mental one. During a bout of anxiety, the body goes into ‘fight or flight mode’, responding to the perceived danger with a surge of adrenaline and cortisol. You may experience a faster heart rate, dizziness, hot flushes, sweating, dry mouth, headache and feeling sick.
Perhaps the most obvious physical symptom, however, is changes to the way you breathe. During periods of anxiety – and especially during panic attacks – your breathing will often become shallower, and you may even start to hyperventilate.
As Nicky Lidbetter, CEO of Anxiety UK, explains, shallow or thoracic breathing – as opposed to deep ‘diaphragmatic’ breathing – is characteristic of anxiety.
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