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Breathing Exercises For Anxiety (Hyperventilation Relief)

Hyperventilation And Its Symptoms

Many anxiety sufferers breathe too fast and shallow. When confronted with a feared scenario they breathe rapidly which leads to increased shortness of breath and further hyperventilation.

Anxiety Symptoms

The most common symptoms are:

  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Lump in the throat
  • Fatigue
  • Poor concentration
  • Choking sensation
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Racing heart
  • Shaking
  • Blurred vision
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Disorientation
  • Tingly sensations  or numbness in the hands, feet, and mouth

People who chronically breathe too fast tend to sigh often, take deep breaths and feel short of breath.

Slow breathing can relieve anxiety and prevent you from having a panic attack if you do it as soon as you notice yourself over-breathing or becoming anxious. Socially phobic and panicky people are advised to slow their breathing before tackling a feared situation or at any time they feel anxious.

Simple Breathing Technique For Anxiety

When you are first learning this breathing exercise you may find it easiest to practice lying flat on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor and eight inches apart. Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your abdomen.

  1. Hold your breath and count to 10.
  2. Then breathe out and think’ relax’ to yourself.
  3. Then inhale slowly through your nose for 3 seconds. The hand on your abdomen should rise whilst the hand on your chest should stay relatively still.
  4. Then exhale through your mouth for three seconds, making a whooshing noise as you breathe out. Think “RELAX” as you exhale. The hand on your abdomen should fall as you exhale.
  5. After a minute of breathing in and out in a six-second cycle, hold your breath again for 10 seconds
  6. Keep repeating this process for 5 minutes.

Once you feel you have mastered the technique lying down, then start practicing slow breathing whilst sitting or standing. Then you will be able to do slow breathing to relax yourself wherever you are in public.

Do this deep breathing for 20 minutes a day and any time when you feel yourself becoming anxious. Depending upon your commitments you might need to break up your 20 minutes during the day into 4 x 5 minutes relaxation segments or 2 x 10-minute relaxation segments.

Breathing exercises can help with a variety of anxiety issues such as a fear of public speaking, however, they are only part of the work needed to cure your anxiety. Contact our team of Melbourne psychologists at 03 9819 3671 and book an appointment today.

 

PSYCHOLOGIST – Catherine Madigan 

 

Catherine Madigan (B.A. Hons., M.A. (Clinical Psychology), M.A.P.S.

Catherine Madigan is a Melbourne Clinical psychologist who specialises in the treatment of social anxiety. She offers a group cognitive behavioral therapy program for social anxiety sufferers. Catherine has been offering this group program for over 8 years and has conducted these groups for both the public mental health system and as part of her private practice. Catherine’s work with social anxiety sufferers has been featured in the most prestigious Australian publications, with the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service and job placement agencies having referred clients to ‘Overcoming Shyness and Social Anxiety’.

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Quick appointments no matter where you live in Australia

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Clinical Psychologist with approx. 25 years of experience. Also offering virtual reality exposure therapy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Anxiety Australia is an anxiety clinic in Hawthorn, Melbourne that is run by Catherine Madigan, who is a clinical psychologist. She primarily focuses on treating anxiety disorders and stress management techniques to individuals and businesses through one on one consultations and stress management workshops.

She is very passionate about treating all kinds of anxiety, as you can tell from the large amount of information and research available on this website. She offers professional, discreet and confidential treatment options that work.

Catherine’s effective anxiety treatments offered in Melbourne can help you overcome disorders such as:

Call now for an appointment on (03) 9819 3671 or 0429 88 3671 or email anxietyaustralia.com.au@gmail.com

The www.anxietyaustralia.com.au/ website provides information about anxiety disorders and the treatment options available. You will also find contact details for other psychologists around Australia who have substantial experience in and/or work primarily with anxiety disorders.

Catherine Madigan is a well known Melbourne based Clinical Psychologist. She is passionate about empowering clients with confidence. The reason her focus is primarily on the treatment of Anxiety Disorders is that she gains great satisfaction by witnessing the freedom and life changing results her therapies can deliver.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in Australia, with 1/7 people (14% of the population) reporting having had an anxiety disorder in the last 12 months. Women are more likely to have an anxiety disorder than men, 18% vs 11%. ABS National Survey of Mental Health & Wellbeing, Summary of Results 2007.

Anxiety or fear is a normal response to a present or imagined threat. Mild fear can be helpful as it enables us to respond quickly when faced with a dangerous situation and to be alert in difficult situations (e.g. exams). However, excessive fear may lead to people being paralysed e.g. soldiers under attack may be so afraid they can’t move to take cover, public speakers may find they go blank, forget their lines and are rendered speechless.

Anxiety is a normal emotion as it affects most people and is widespread. You would be abnormal if you didn’t experience fear sometimes. However, if your anxiety is out of proportion to the situation you are experiencing and/or persists in the absence of threat, e.g you worry about events months ahead or are experiencing anxiety long after the danger has passed, you may need professional help.

Some people are more prone to experiencing anxiety than others and it is not caused by just one thing but by a combination of factors including: genetics, family environment and traumatic life experiences. Sufferers may have unhelpful thinking patterns such as perfectionist standards. Nevertheless, you can learn to manage your anxiety more effectively.

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