Stratford Therapy

Why breathing is an important part of reducing anxiety

Most of us know what anxiety feels like and a little anxiety is good for us.

Anxiety and fear can protect you from danger. When you feel under threat, anxiety and fear trigger the release of hormones, such as adrenalin. Adrenalin causes your heart to beat faster to carry blood where it's most needed. You breathe faster to provide the extra oxygen required for energy. You sweat to prevent overheating. Your mouth may feel dry, as your digestive system slows down to allow more blood to be sent to your muscles. Your senses become heightened and your brain becomes more alert.

These changes make your body able to take action and protect you in a dangerous situation either by running away or fighting. It is known as the 'fight or flight' reflex.

If your anxiety stays at a high level and makes you feel out of control or like you are going mad then you need to take some steps to reduce your anxiety levels.

From my experience one of the most important steps is to improve the way you breathe. Most of us don't breathe correctly. Breathing should be from the abdomen not the chest. You will recognise that when you get anxious your breathing will often become shallow and in your chest

Breathing happens unconsciously so we have no idea how we are breathing until we pay attention to it. I therefore teach my clients to practice deep breathing and to do it consciously. You can do it when you are in a queue waiting to be served.

Here is a link to an excellent short video which shows you exactly what to do.

Good breathing has a lot more benefits than just reducing anxiety. If you want to know more I suggest you have a look at some of the work by Dr Andrew Weil

I have a lot more information on anxiety which will be in future newsletters. Meanwhile if you have any queries don't hesitate to give ma call or drop me an email

Until next time

Liz Hancock
MBACP Accred

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