Breathing Exercises for Anxiety
by B. Imei Hsu, RN, LMHC, Artist
Anxiety is a common feature of modern life. Anxiety is more often a fear of something that has not happened – and may not even happen at all. Contrast the difference between the real fear of receiving an eviction notice on one’s door after failing to pay the mortgage for four consecutive months (cause and effect fear), and the anxiety of that same situation, only you actually possess enough money to pay the mortgage. Generally, Anxiety is a problem when your responses exceed what one would expect in the circumstances you face. In other words, you have an over-response. Anxieties can show up as a complex and chronic repetition of responses to the unknown, or they can take on the shape of specific phobia so powerful that you develop palpitations, diaphoresis, dysphoria, dizziness, and nausea just thinking about the phobia. Anxiety attacks and panic attacks can leave one feeling paralyzed, unable to tap one’s usual cognitive and physical skills to get oneself back to a place of safety and security. Other than using narcotics and sleep medication, are there other ways help people encounter their feelings of anxiety? The answer may lie in attacking anxiety with breathing.