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 Breathing - what to do

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liz
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Number of posts : 613
Age : 68
Registration date : 2008-11-29

PostSubject: Breathing - what to do   Sat Nov 29, 2008 3:49 am



What to do

For a short-term cure
• Breathe in the air you have just been breathing out. This is rich with carbon dioxide. You need to get more carbon dioxide into your blood. You could use a cylinder of carbon dioxide and a mask; you could put a paper bag (not plastic) over your head to capture and concentrate carbon dioxide so it's available for you to breathe back in. You could cup your hands over your mouth, making a natural mask, and breathe back in your previously expelled air. Do this for a few minutes and the worst of the symptoms will disappear. You may feel quite shaken up however, as if in shock, so it may help to sit down for half-an-hour with a cup of sweet tea, or similar.
• It is easy to recreate the problem. Don't! You can prevent the problem building again by relaxing your abdomen so the lower lung has plenty of room to take your full breath. Breathe slowly and fully.

For short-term Prevention
It is preferable not to need the cure above. Far better to prevent like this:
At the first sign of trouble:
• Stop whatever you are doing. Sit or lie down.
• Tense and release all the muscles in your body - several times if necessary.
• Breathe in and out slowly.
• Concentrate on breathing in. If you can get that right, breathing out will take care of itself. Place your fingertips together on your abdomen - make sure that every time you breathe in your fingertips are forced apart. Breathe as if into your stomach, in fact into the lower part of the lung, with the muscles so relaxed the lower part of the lung has plenty of room to expand and your fingertips come apart. Breathe slowly.
• If you do this, you will not hyperventilate. That is, you will not alter the gas mixture in your blood (through incorrect breathing) to trigger the symptoms you experience as so distressing. With this calm window of opportunity you can now think about thinking processes.


Thinking about Thinking
Short-term prevention also needs to address the fact that thinking about unpleasant symptoms will tend to make them even worse. The cycle of fear spirals like this:



Experience symptoms

Increase in
symptoms Think about them
and worry
they will get worse


Increase in fear

In the short-term, try distancing yourself.
• Do mental games such as crossword puzzles, anything to divert attention from the symptoms. Without your interference, your body will settle down. It is good at looking after itself if only you will allow this.
• Focus on other people - try to recall everything you know about them.
• Focus on a photograph or a precious bracelet or watch - and recall the happy times to which they relate.
• Do something physical -hoover the carpet, hand out drinks at a party, or of course do sports if appropriate.
• Meditate - focus on a lighted candle, or the bud of a flower etc., and see it, really see it in every detail so you block out everything else.
• Think realistic thoughts (not artificial 'positive' ones). For example if you are in a panic taking an examination, focus on the fact that the love your family or friends feel for you is unconditional - regardless of whether you pass or not, or do well or not, they will love you just the same. Repeat over and over to yourself: "Love is not conditional on performance" while you visualise getting hugs from those who care for you.
How to practice realistic thinking:
• You need to identify what it is you need to change before you try to change it! Many thoughts flash through our heads so quickly (and automatically out of habit) we are only fractionally aware of them. So, keep a diary. Monitor your thinking. When you feel stressed, anxious, or panicky, note the place, time, and the thoughts that preceded and accompanied those feelings. After a week or so you will be able to review this data and find only a few main themes of concern running through them.
• Question the assumptions. You may need a friend to help you see your assumptions.
• Replace existing thoughts with new realistic ones. Bear in mind we are talking about thoughts which maintain the problem so you will need to repeat to yourself over and over again the more realistic thoughts to get them to take effect as well as the old habitual thoughts which are on automatic, but are now being disrupted.
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