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Using Breathwork to Battle Anxiety

February 13, 2024 Michaela Jarvis

Breathwork can help with anxiety. Sometimes, when it comes to managing mental health, it's best to go back to the basics, like breathing. It seems too simple, and it is simple, but that doesn't make it any less important. Breathwork is an amazing tool to refocus, calm one's mind, and work through moments of high anxiety. The best part is that it can be done anywhere at any time.

The Impact of Breathwork on Anxiety Symptoms

I'm someone who tracks my heart rate consistently, and it's not uncommon for my heart rate to set between 90 and 120 beats per minute (BPM) when I get upset, anxious, or overwhelmed. For the past few years, I've defaulted to practicing breathwork when anxious, so I started experimenting with myself.

When I felt a wave of anxiety, I would do breathwork for a few minutes and then recheck my heart rate. I noticed that my BPM would drop by 10 consistently. As someone who values tangible results, such as numbers and figures, being able to see the impact of my breathwork visually made me a believer in its power. 

How to Use Breathwork for Anxiety

There's no right or wrong way to do breathwork for anxiety. Some people just like to pause and take a few deep breaths. Others enjoy guided breathwork meditations that can be found online.

For me personally, I've found a technique I enjoy that I had learned in therapy, and here's how I do my breathwork practice:

When to Use Breathwork for Anxiety

In a moment of panic, sometimes breathing is the only tool I can remember to use. When the mind is racing and in full-on freakout mode, so many things that feel obvious are thrown out the window.

Breathwork is great for times of panic, heightened anxiety, or when feeling upset in general. Anytime there is a feeling of loss of control, breathwork can be calming and centering. And the best part is, it's a practice that can be done at any place at any moment of the day.

I find myself doing breathwork when I get anxious driving, when I'm stressed at work, or when I'm laying in bed reliving unpleasant memories and thoughts. It takes my mind somewhere new and gives me a sense of control again. 

The simplicity of breathwork is what makes it such a powerful tool. Yes, other practices like journaling, exercise, and music are excellent ways to refocus and restore, but breathwork for anxiety is one of the only practices that can be done without having to get up or use any physical tools. When life gets out of hand, breathing through anxiety is an easy way to regain even a small amount of control -- which can make all the difference in the world.

APA Reference
Jarvis, M. (2024, February 13). Using Breathwork to Battle Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 13 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2024/2/using-breathwork-to-battle-anxiety



Author: Michaela Jarvis

Michaela Jarvis is continuously on her road to self-improvement while managing bipolar disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and the life challenges that come with being in your 20s. Find Michaela on Instagram, LinkedIn, and her website.

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