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Some info. from Centre For Clinical Interventions
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Essential part of life...
Everyone knows that breathing is an essential part of life, but did you know that breathing plays an essential role in anxiety? Breathing is a powerful determinant of physical state. When our breathing rate becomes elevated, a number of physiological changes begin to occur. Perhaps you've might suddenly gasp, feel a little breathless and a little light-headed, as well as feeling some tingling sensations around your body. Believe it or not, the way we breathe is a major factor in producing these and other sensations that are noticeable when we are anxious. Remember we breathe in oxygen-which is used by the body- and we breathe out carbon dioxide. In order for the body to run efficiently, there needs to be a balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide, and this balance is maintained through how fast and how deeply we breathe. When we are anxious though, this balance is disrupted. Essentially, we take in more oxygen than the body needs- in other words we overbreathe, or hyperventilate. When this imbalance is detected, the body responds with a number of chemical changes that produce symptoms such as dizziness, light-headedness, confusion, breathlessness, blurred vision, increase in hear rate to pump more blood around, numbness and tingling in the extremities, cold clammy hands and muscle stiffness.
The normal rate of breathing is 10-12 breaths per minute-what's your breathing rate?
One of the body's reaction to fear and anxiety is muscle tension. This can result in feeling "tense", or can lead to muscle aches and pains, as well as leaving some people feeling exhausted. Think about how you respond to anxiety. Do "tense up" when you're feeling anxious? Muscle relaxation can be particularly helpful in cases where anxiety is especially associated to muscle tension.
Calming techniques to
help you get started
While overbreathing and hyperventilation are not specifically dangerous , continued overbreathing can leave you feeling exhausted or "on edge" so that you're more likely to respond to stressful situations with intense anxiety and panic.
When you gain control over your breathing it involves both slowing your rate of breathing and changing your breathing style.
Once you have set aside the time and place for relaxation, slow down your breathing and give yourself permission to relax. Tense the muscle group that will be described ahead. Make sure that you feel the tension. Keep the muscle tensed for approximately 5 seconds. Relax muscle for 10 seconds. Talk to yourself and command your muscles to relax. After you are done remain seated for a few moments allowing yourself to become alert.
One method of reducing muscle tension that people have found helpful is through a technique called Progressive Muscle Relaxation. With this technique you tense up a particular muscle and then relax them.
Safety steps before you begin.
*always consult your doctor before you start
*make yourself comfortable. Use a chair that seats your body, including your head.
*Avoid practicing after big, heavy meals, and do not practice after consuming any intoxicants, such as alcohol.
*Right hand and forearm: make a fist
with your right hand
*Right upper arm: bring your right forearm
up to your shoulder to make a muscle
*Forehead: Raise your eyebrows as high as they will go
*Eyes and cheeks: Squeeze your eyes tight shut
*Mouth and jaw: Open your mouth as wide as you can
*Neck: (be careful as you tense these muscles!!!)
move forward and bak slow
*Shoulder: Tense the muscles in you shoulders,
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety disorders include disorders that share features of excessive fear and anxiety and related behavioral disturbances. Anxiety disorders differ from one another in the types of objects or situations that induce fear, anxiety, or avoidance behavior, and the associated cognitive ideation. Typically anxiety disorders last 6 months or more as a general guide. The key features of generalized anxiety disorder are persistent and excessive anxiety and worry about various domains, including work and school performance, that the individual finds difficult to control. In addition, the individual experiences physical symptoms, including restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge; being easily fatigued; difficulty concentrating or mind going blank; irritability; muscle tension; and sleep disturbance.
Anxiety is a natural reaction to what we have herd before the "fight or flight" response. It may sometimes give us the energy that we need to make fast decisions in difficult or stressful situations. But if we fail to recognize what is a normal anxiety vs an anxiety that takes away your peace and turns your life completely upside down you run the risk of entering into a crisis. It will become overwhelming to the point that it may interfere with your work, social circle, school, and family. When this happens then you will need to take some action to seek professional help. No one really wants to live with anxiety. If you feel that anxiety and panic are taking a toll on you, then take a leap of faith and look for someone that can help you work through your negative thoughts and help you learn techniques to relax. Not in all anxiety cases, but you may benefit from medications that will help keep it under control. Just remember that medications should be discussed preferably with your psychiatrist as they are the most qualify to prescribed any anxiety medications. Some information gathered from DSM 5
Only through practice can you become more aware of your muscles, how they respond with tension, and how you can relax them. Training your body to respond differently to stress is like any training- being consistent is the key!!!
Muscle tension is commonly associated with stress, anxiety and fear as part of a process that helps our bodies prepare for potentially dangerous situations. Even though some of those situations may not actually be dangerous, our bodies respond in the same way. Sometimes we don't even notice how our muscles become tense, but perhaps you clench your teeth slightly so your jaw feels tight, or maybe your shoulders become tense. Muscle tension can also be associated with backaches and tension headaches.
Shoulder blades/back:Push your shoulder blades back, trying to almost toudh them together
*Chest and stomach:Breathe in deeply, filling up your lungs and chest with air
*Hips and buttocks: Squeeze your buttock muscles
*Right upper leg and lower leg: Tighten tighten your thighs (do it slow to prevent cramps). Repeat for the left leg
*Right and left foot: Curl your toes downwards
*Relax and breath slowly
*Good job you did it!!!