Diaphragmatic Breathing

I wrote about mindful meditation pretty recently (click here to read it), and to continue on with the topic, diaphragmatic breathing is essential in meditation. I’ve learned so many different techniques to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression in school so I feel it’s my duty to pass them on to you, too.

Diaphragmatic breathing can be done anywhere – in fact, this is the type of breathing the doctor suggests when a woman is in labor or in birthing classes. This technique only requires that wherever you do it, you’re comfortable, you can concentrate, and you can incorporate visualization. If you have all three of those things, you’re good to go.

I battle with panic attacks and sensory overload, and this breathing technique can help with them. I never realized that this is the type of breathing exercise I do when trying to come out of a panic attack, but it helps. It immediately calms me down; I can breathe again, my body gets less tense and numb, and my brain is thinking clearly again. That fight or flight response chills out a bit, too.

So I urge you to practice this type of breathing, especially if you battle with panic attacks. It helps so much. Here is a link describing it more in detail and guiding you through it so you can hopefully be more mindful of this breathing technique when you’re working through a panic attack.

Deep Breaths and Fresh Air

If you have ever had a panic attack, you know how big or small the trigger can be. Something big like a death of a loved one, but even something as small as a spider on the wall.

Recently, I had one and it was a big one. Big panic attack from a small situation. 

I was in my therapy group and every day I sit at the end of the table so that I won’t be in between two people. I was doing fine until a man in a wheelchair came and sat next to me at the end of the table.

I don’t mind sitting next to anyone, but I have to be on the end. I have to. Otherwise, I have a panic attack.

So I was sitting there, trying not to pay attention, but then he started pacing back and forth in his wheelchair right next to me. 

That’s when it started happening. I started breathing hard and it got to where I couldn’t breathe. I spiraled into an attack.

Before you keep reading, I want you to say what you would do in my situation.

Okay, did you say “deep breaths” or “fresh air”? If so, you’re right. Although there are many ways to calm yourself down during a panic attack, those are the main two that I did. 

After that, I went to the bathroom to wash my face and tell myself, in the mirror, that I was okay. There was no danger. I was okay.

When I have a panic attack, my entire body goes numb. I breathe hard and I cry hard. After it passes, my bones hurt to their core and I have pain in my bones for 2-3 days after the attack.

It helps that there is always someone there to help out, even if it’s just getting me some ice water (thanks, Megan!). Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Panic attacks can be small or huge, even emergency room huge.

Now it’s your turn. Tweet me at @ali_vercher and tell me about the last panic attack you had. We’ll talk about it and it’ll help me understand others’ perspective during a panic attack.