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Managing anxiety

You feel the restrictive sensation of your chest walls caving in as if someone is standing on your ribcage. You’re becoming alarmingly aware of the rhythm of your breathing and wonder if your next breath will be your last. It’s like you’re drowning without being under water. You think, “I can’t breathe. I’m going to die. Just breathe. Just breathe.”

10 simple steps

Instead of just taking deep breaths during a panic attack, you want to practice diaphragmatic breathing. When you engage in this type of breathing, your belly expands in and out instead of your chest going up and down. It helps to imagine that you have a balloon in your stomach. Take longer to exhale than inhale, perhaps inhaling for three seconds and exhaling for four.

Anxiety can be defined as the response of an organism to a threat, real or imagined. It is a process that, in some form, is present in all living things.

Kerr, Bowen

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