Use the breathing exercises below to manage anxiety symptoms.

Common anxiety symptoms include:

  • heart racing or skipping beats
  • Shortness of breath or tightness on the throat
  • Tension (especially in the back of the neck and shoulders)
  • Frowning, tension headaches or dizziness
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  • Clenched jaw and dry mouth
  • Pains in the back, chest or neck
  • Butterflies in the stomach or nausea
  • Shaking and unsteadiness
  • Sweating, even on a cool day
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • a desire to urinate.

These symptoms of anxiety may also be coupled with eating too much or too little, drinking more alcohol or smoking more; or an increased dependence on stimulants such as coffee and chocolate.

Breathing

Most anxious people are tense and tend to breathe too quickly from their upper chest. This upsets the levels of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the blood, cutting off supplies of carbon dioxide to the brain and oxygen to the cells, causing unpleasant side effects, such as dizziness and muscular tension in the neck and upper back.

Controlling your breathing will help ease feelings of anxiety. to fill your lungs evenly with air, breathe rhythmically from the diaphragm, the dome-shaped muscle between your chest and abdomen. This pulls air deep into the lower lungs, releases muscular tension and helps control anxiety.

Exercise One

When you feel panicky or tense, find a quiet spot and try the following simple exercise when lying down or sitting in a comfortable position. Place your hands together on your stomach, just below your ribcage, close your mouth and breathe into a count of four. Feel your diaphragm pulling out and down, your stomach rising and your ribs expanding upwards and outwards, then breathe out, making sure you exhale all the air you took in. Allow your ribs to collapse down and in and your stomach to lower. Repeat four times.

Exercise Two

The advantage of this exercise is that you can do it while sitting anywhere. Holding your right nostril shut with your right thumb, breathe in through your left nostril to a count of eight. Then place your first finger against your left nostril and hold your breath for a further count of eight. Release your thumb and breathe our, again for a count of eight, keeping your finger on the left nostril. Then begin inhaling again through the right nostril. reversing the process. Repeat five times.

Sleep Well

If anxious thoughts get in the way of sleep, close your eyes and imagine a pitch-black window blind slowly rolling downward. On it in large letters is the word SLEEP. Concentrate on seeing this word on the blind as it gradually winds down. Feel yourself sinking steadily into sleep as it comes down.