How to Breathe Correctly during a Panic Attack?


Breathing problems cause anxiety and severe discomfort. This is absolutely natural: the subconscious always associates a respiratory disorder with a life threat. Any disruptions in breathing impede normal living and have negative influence on human behavior. The person becomes restless, fidgety and stressed out. At the same time, patients do not know how to help themselves. It is especially important to learn how to breathe during panic attack.

Features of Breathing in Panic

Everyone who has experienced panic attacks knows how painful this condition is. As a rule, the patient has the following symptoms:

All the feelings experienced during a panic attack seem to a person a real disaster. The patient is overwhelmed by an inexplicable horror, which does not give him a sober assessment of what is happening around. There is a feeling of breathe during a panic attacksevere lack of air, the patient begins to breathe more often. Why is this happening? The thing is that at the time of adrenaline release into the blood, the body immediately begins to “prepare” for survival – this is the natural reaction to fear. Adrenaline makes vessels to narrow, and lungs to work hard to provide the body with enough oxygen. The level of carbon dioxide in the blood decreases, and oxygen, on the contrary, becomes too much. If a person begins to feel fear due to difficulties in breathing in panic attack, the situation only worsens. Attempts to swallow a lot of air lead to an even greater sense of its lack. Sometimes such “efforts” can provoke a loss of consciousness, but it will be a kind of help for respiratory function, because fainting will restore the necessary level of oxygen.

How to Breathe?

You should learn to breathe correctly not during a panic attack, but in a state of wellbeing, because in the event of a strong alarm there will be no time for training. Special breathing exercises will help not only to eliminate unpleasant symptoms, but also teach to prevent the manifestation of anxiety attacks at the very beginning:

  1. breathe during a panic attackWhen you feel an increase of fear and in case of heart palpitations you should try to relax and rebuild your breath. It is necessary to take short breaths through the nose and to make slow long exhales through the mouth. The exhalation should be accompanied by a feeling of complete “release” of air.
  2. You will need a paper bag for the following exercise. Just breathe in it making long exhalations. Do not worry at easy feeling of shortage of air at the time of performance of the exercise – this is the way balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen is restored in blood. Breathing during panic attack may be performed using your palms instead of the paper bag.
  3. Put the palms on the belly, make your lips to form a straw. Count to 10, inhale and exhale slowly. Perform the exercise for 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Make 3-4 quick breaths, and exhale quickly, but efficiently. This technique helps to relax quickly and to get rid of the feeling of suffocation.
  5. If panic is accompanied by a sense of unreality of the events, you need to put your hand on your stomach (undressed) and to concentrate on this feeling. You should breathe with your abdomen.
  6. With impending panic, you can also try to focus on the breath itself – one inhale and one exhale, twice longer that the inhale. During the exercise, you should try not to think about the fear.
In addition to breathing exercises, it is recommended to use the technique of “change of emotions”. It is known that one emotion becomes weaker due to the other, manifested most intensely. You can attach a cold (hot) object to your hand or face to try to “redirect” a panic wave.

It is very important for a person to know how to breathe during panic attack. As a rule, this eliminates the risk of developing respiratory neurosis – a condition in which the patient is constantly suffering from thoughts, whether he breathes correctly, and tries to determine how full his breath is. Such actions provoke the emergence of strong anxiety, resulting in difficult breathing. The patient suffering from neurosis, may perceive even the slightest respiratory changes as a threat to life, and this, in turn, can lead to the development of irrational fears.


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