Helping Anxiety: When Deep Breaths Don’t Work

Helping anxiety often comes with the recommendation of taking a deep breath. But what should you do if that doesn’t work?

Helping anxiety #1 tip: Take a deep breath!

Did that help make you feel better? If it did, you are lucky. It has never worked for me…

When someone tells me to take a deep breath it’s normally a stressful situation. I think I’ve associated taking a deep breath with being stressed!  😀

Every time I take a deep breath I’m expecting to feel better, so I immediately start looking for improvement. When it doesn’t come I feel even worse because I’m not getting the relief I’m looking for and I feel like I’m failing at relaxing. I get stressed about not being good enough at relaxing (if that’s not an example of shooting yourself with a second arrow I don’t know what is). 

I’ve tried taking a “slow” breath, and this seems to work a little better, but it’s not what I’m looking for. I tried diaphragmatic or belly breathing and that worked even better, but I still got caught up in the technique and paying too much attention to if I was breathing “correctly” to really relax and feel good. 

Because of this predicament that I’m in and I assume other people can relate to, I’ve come up with a better and easier way to relax and destress. 

Don’t take a “deep” breath. 

Instead, take an “easy” breath. Take a breath that feels good for you, right now, however that looks. 

Maybe it’s with your belly, maybe it’s higher up in your chest. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that it hits the right spot for you in this moment. 

Maybe it’s slow. Maybe it’s a little faster with a big sigh at the end. 

It should feel good no matter what kind of breath it is. And if you just respect how you want to breathe at this moment, I bet you will feel better. 

If you want to explore other breathing and meditation practices included in FocusCalm go check out our free meditations, with FocusCalm teacher Fez Aswat. If you want to track your stress levels and learn how to reduce them to feel better and perform at your best, try FocusCalm risk-free for 30 days here.

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