As a an ex sufferer of this extremely disabling disorder it seems I made it my life’s mission to not only beat this condition but to find ways of preventing the attacks. I was in my early twenties when I had my first experience of severe anxiety; it was shortly after the birth of my 2nd child. My first memory was visiting my local shop for some basic essentials, milk bread etc. I remember standing in a long queue with my shopping basket and my new borne baby, when suddenly out of nowhere I started sweating and adrenaline starting to rush through my entire body, I became very short of breath and thought I was going pass out! I remember just dumping my basket on the floor and literally running out of the shop to try and catch my breath. The faster my breath become the more I panicked to the point I couldn’t seem to focus at all. I remember this little old lady asking me if I was ok which somehow seemed to help, what was only a 5 min walk home seemed like an hour! These panic attacks became very frequent events to the point it was affecting my entire life. I decided to seek help by visiting my GP who told me that I was suffering from postal natal depression, and was sent away with Prozac an antidepressant. I was offered no emotional support or therapy at the time. These anxiety attacks went on to last a further two years, I felt very alone and trapped within my own body.
One day I woke up and decided enough was enough and I couldn’t go on living with constant fear, I took matters in to my own hands and started to research, I brought many self-help books, read articles from around the world. I Found I wasn’t alone and there were many other anxiety sufferers whose lives had been affected by panic attacks. The penny suddenly dropped, my mind was in control of me! My fear and negative thinking was keeping my anxiety alive to the point I was expecting to have panic attack. When I realised my thoughts were creating my reality I felt so relieved there was a cure and it was me!
I worked so hard to change my negative thinking; I was on a brain training mission! By changing my thoughts, changed my emotions and behaviour. I no longer had a limiting belief I wasn’t safe. I would say to myself hundreds of time of the day “I love & approve of myself all is well in my life I am safe” which was the opposite of what I was feeling. I become very mindful of my thinking and quickly replaced limiting thoughts. I also discovered the 7-11 breathing technique for prevention. I stopped my panic attacks and slowly came off the antidepressants and so can you!
I now teach this technique and many more within my practice and would love to share this with you.
With hyperventilation, your body has too much oxygen. To use this oxygen (to extract it from your blood), your body needs a certain amount of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). When you hyperventilate, you do not give your body long enough to retain CO2, and so your body cannot use the oxygen you have. This causes you to feel as if you are short of air, when actually you have too much. This is why the following techniques work to get rid of hyperventilation.
Getting Rid of Hyperventilation
Anybody who hyperventilates will find that symptoms of over-excitedness or panic will occur. So how can you learn to breathe more evenly and naturally?
Hold your breath. Holding your breath for as long as you comfortably can will prevent the dissipation of carbon dioxide. If you hold your breath for a period of between 10 and 15 seconds and repeat this a few times that will be sufficient to calm hyperventilation quickly.
The 7:11 breathing Pattern – the opposite of hyperventilation finally you can practice a special type of breathing, not into your chest but deep into your tummy or diaphragm which is below your chest. The important thing here is that the out breath must be longer than the in breath. This causes stimulation of the part of your nervous system responsible for relaxation. This is a basic law of biology and if you breathe in this way then your body will have no choice but to relax. (This is the technique I show my clients)) It may take a few minutes but the body will respond regardless of what your mind is thinking. Experience this now…….. Sit down and close your eyes for a little while. Just become aware of your breathing and breathe in to the count of seven and breathe out to the count of eleven. You can hold for a couple of seconds at the bottom of the out breath if that’s comfortable for you.
It may be a little difficult at first, but doing this regularly causes your general anxiety level to come down. You may also find that you begin to breathe this way automatically if you feel anxious. Regular relaxation actually starts to inhibit the production of stress hormones in the body so it actually becomes harder and harder to panic. As you become more generally relaxed the ‘baseline’ of arousal from which you are starting lowers. It actually becomes harder to get stressed!
Hyperventilation responds very well to this technique. If you practice this daily, hyperventilating should cease to be a problem very quickly. It can also give you much more control over panic attacks and your life.