I know there are many different techniques out there,--all for the same purpose & intent: to slow down
our breathing, to breathe deeper
, and to focus
on the breath, (not the symptoms anxiety brings).
With some of the techniques, I found I'd still sometimes get short of breath and couldn't do it for long.
This is a technique I learned called "Square Breathing." (I taught it to my therapist, she never heard of it).
It works by helping to slow down a rapid heart rate, and restore the oxygen/carbon dioxide levels and thus helps clear the head from the "fuzzies" that can result from the accidental shallow breathing or hyper-ventilating that we can sometimes do.
"Square Breathing" involves actively counting. You can watch the second hand on a clock so you don't "speed up" your internal counting, or what I've come to utilize a lot, is using a metronome!!
This is how to do "Square Breathing":
1) Take a SLOW and deep breath for "four full seconds." Count each second as you inhale.
2) HOLD your breath for "four full seconds."
3) SLOWLY exhale while counting the "full four seconds" to expel your breath, beginning to end.
4) HOLD your breath, again after expelling your breath, counting for the "full four seconds."
The "four seconds" can slowly be increased, 1-2 seconds at a time, once you've mastered it. The point is that each breath "in" and "out" and both of those "holds" must all be for the same number of seconds.
Unlike just breathing in and out, and unlike using your mind to arbitrarily "count" internally,....an external time measuring device keeps your counting consistent across the board. It's difficult at first, but it really, really works.
Important: Your body will try to trick you into cheating --> The goal is not to exhale quickly (because you'll feel out of breath at first), and continue your counting....it's utilizing the full "four seconds" to complete each inhale, hold, exhale, and hold. Don't try to rush it.
The purpose, the goal, the result,...is CONTROL over your BREATH. Your heart rate will stop racing, your mind is FORCED to focus on your breathing because you simply cannot get distracted, and you absolutely cannot breathe in and out rapidly.
It takes some practice, but it can be done anywhere, and the results are truly incredible.