Your heart feels like it’s going to beat out of your chest. Suddenly your temperature is rising. You’re getting a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach and feel like you’re out of breath. It’s getting harder to pace your breathing and your thoughts feel out of control. Each of these symptoms  alone are common side effects of anxiety, worry, and stress. When mixed together and left uncontrolled, they can create something called panic attacks.

This article will review a key way to help your body regulate and calm down before the panic attack hits. Remember, early intervention is the best way to curb panic attacks.

Deep breathing. Also known as diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing. This is one of the most powerful tools in managing anxiety. This is the best way to calm your heart rate in a healthy way and combat an upcoming panic attack. Deep breathing is very different than taking a deep breath. The focus is on making the belly rise when inhaling and making the belly sink in when exhaling.

Let’s walk through it now:

  1. Sit comfortably with both feet on the floor. Relax your body as best you can.
  2. Place your left hand on your chest and your right hand on your belly.
  3. Breathe in through your nose slowly and focus on expanding your belly. Your right hand should rise with your breath while your left hand stays as still as possible.
  4. When your belly can’t hold any more air, hold your breath for 4 seconds, then release slowly. Remember keep your left hand as still as possible while your right hand moves in and out with your belly.

As mentioned previously, early intervention is key. The moment you begin to feel flushed, the moment your heart beats a little fast- breathe deep and begin this breathing exercise. Practice with only 3-4 breaths at a time and create a calming phrase to go along with the breathing. Something like “I am safe, I am sound” or “Breath in the positive, Release the negative,” or “If God is for me, who can be against me.”

It’s best to practice each day when you feel calm, that way when you feel overwhelmed, you will remember what you practiced. Just a few minutes a day can really pay off during the time you really.

Click here for a visual on how to do apply the 4X4X4 breathing strategy.