Shortness of Breath – Anxiety & Panic


Probably the most common symptom of them all with anxiety & panic is shortness of breath; some also describe it as a smothering sensation, or feeling like they are suffocating, like there is no air around them.

This is often the first symptom that will trigger off a panic attack. As soon as the sufferer feels they cannot breathe then the heart begins to race 50 to the dozen, then you begin to feel dizzy like your going to pass out and that’s when the fear of death hits you dead in your tracks.

Or of course, you could feel short of breath, then dizzy (or light-headed), then racing heart beat then scared to your wits end that your going to die or pass-out.

If you’ve ever felt this sensation before, then you should be aware that this is classic symptoms of a panic attack.

It can hit anytime, anywhere. Heck, I used to get this one a lot while driving in my car. And anyone who can relate to that knows that is dam frightening! Because now you’re afraid you’re going to have a car accident with it!

The most important thing in this scenario is to deal with the first symptom. The shortness of breath. I will begin by explaining to you why you feel the shortness of breath.

The blunt of it is obviously poor breathing technique, which apparently majority of the world does not breathe properly. But for the anxiety sufferer it’s usually much more predominant. The anxiety sufferer takes very short quick breaths, therefore not allowing sufficient amount of air flow to your lungs and body.

Here is a quick test you can perform right now on yourself to see if you are breathing correctly. Place your hand between your chest and stomach area, as you breathe in is your chest and stomach area rising? As you breathe out does your hand fall with your stomach and chest?

When I first did this test, I was quite surprised to find that there was little movement at all.

What you need to do is encourage deeper slower breaths. Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose, and then breathe out through your mouth slowly. You will find when you first start practicing this technique that it will probably make you feel a bit light headed. That’s ok. It’s because your body isn’t used to receiving so much oxygen. It is used to living on the “bread and dripping” bum end scale of oxygen.

Try doing this exercise a few times a day, eventually it will become habit and you will adopt new and healthier breathing habits.

It is important for the anxiety sufferer to know that he/she will not stop breathing from these sensations. You try holding your breath; your body will shortly after force you to breathe again.

Note: Never self diagnose. Make sure you visit your local GP first. All material provided is for informational or educational purposes only. No content is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your symptoms or medical condition.

By Joanne King –

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