When we’re feeling anxious, and especially if we’re having a panic attack, our breathing generally speeds up. This elevates our heart rates, making anxiety more intense, and escalating panic attacks. 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 escalates anxiety and panic attacks even more. So instead of trying to breathe deeper, we want to breathe slower.
There are many ways we can learn to breathe slower, such as meditation or just practicing breathing exercises when we’re not anxious. But the video below describes what I think is the best breathing exercise to slow down our breathing in the moment, when we’re having a panic attack or feeling extremely anxious. And when we slow our breathing down, we start to deescalate panic attacks, and reduce anxiety.
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.