Anxiety causes not only an emotional strain on us but can also cause a physical strain on our bodies. Have you ever noticed that you can feel utterly drained at the end of the day if it was a day that were struggling with anxiety? Cognitive Behavioral therapy works on teaching people techniques not only to address the cognitive part to combat anxiety, but also teaches techniques to address the behavioral part of anxiety. One of the behavioral components of Cognitive behavioral therapy that is used to help reduce anxiety is to learn how to relax. Many people who state that when they feel anxiety they feel a tightness in their chest, shortness of breath, shallow breath, hyperventilation, or a difficulty breathing. This can leave a horrible effect on our mental health when we feel like we cannot breathe right as it increases feelings of panic and discomfort.
Battling Anxiety with Breathing
In many of the counseling sessions that I have with my clients, a common topic they ask me to address is “how to deal with anxiety” and if there is a technique they can incorporate where they can feel an immediate result. A great anxiety treatment that can lower your stress instantly is deep breathing. Deep breathing slows the breath down, takes it deep into your diaphragm and stomach area instead of being shallow up high in your chest. This results in your heart rate decreasing, allows for your body to get more oxygen, and forces your body to relax overall.
Here is how you can do it:
- You can lay down or sit comfortably straight up.
- Place one hand on your chest and another on your stomach.
- Imagine and visualize that there is a balloon in your stomach. When you inhale the balloon will fill up with air and will increase in size which will result in your stomach sticking out. When you exhale you are letting the air out of the balloon and your stomach will go in.
- Now take a few deep breaths while keeping your hand on your chest and your stomach and notice the rise and fall of your stomach while inhale and exhale.
- Now slow your breath down by prolonging how you inhale and exhale. Inhale for 3 seconds, hold that breath for 2 seconds, then exhale for 3 seconds.
- Continue practicing deep breathing by using this counting of 3, 2, 3 as you inhale and exhale.
For the first few times that you practice deep breathing you might notice a slight feeling of dizziness or light headedness and that is due to an increase of oxygen flow to your brain. Once you continue to practice deep breathing your body will start to get used to more oxygen and this sensation should go away. Deep breathing for relaxation has an amazing effect on our overall mental health, and we can use it not only when we are stressed but also when we are angry or frustrated. Deep breathing is a great way of how to deal with anxiety. I have taught this technique to all my clients who come to me for counseling. Practice deep breathing everyday to reap great benefits.
CBT for Anxiety in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Roberta Alves is a therapist and counselor at the Essence of Healing Counseling in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. She is a Certified Anxiety Specialist and uses a scientific and evidence based type of therapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Research has shown that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is proven to be extremely effective in treating anxiety. Roberta is truly passionate about the work she does and loves serving her clients in Ft. Lauderdale and the surrounding South Florida areas. If you want to learn the proven techniques to overcome your anxiety schedule an appointment today.