When we’re having a panic attack, or feeling anxious or in distress, our breathing generally speeds up. This elevates our heart rates, making things feel more intense, and creating even more panic, anxiety and distress. The advice in these situations is often to take deep breaths. But deep breathing can actually make things worse.
If we start breathing deeper without slowing down out breathing, we can end up panting or hyperventilating. And this can feel like we’re having trouble breathing or starting to suffocate, which leads to more panic, anxiety and distress. So instead of trying to breathe deeper, we want to breathe slower. The video below describes the best breathing exercise to slow down our breathing, deescalate panic attacks, and reduce anxiety and distress.
Best Breathing Technique for Panic Attacks and Anxiety
Breathing Technique for Panic and Anxiety Longer Version
Someone requested a longer version of this breathing exercise, so the video below is the same as above, but looped a few times.
The actual best way to learn how to breathe during a panic attack is with Capnometry-Assisted Respiratory Training (CART), but this requires a portable capnometer device. If you’re interested, you can read about CART (along with a video demonstration), or read the the academic study. But if you’re like me, and don’t have your own capnometer, the breathing technique in this video is a simple and effective way to slow down your breathing during a panic attack.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them on the YouTube video page.