Anxiety, blood pressure, phobias, addictions, anger or pain reduction;
calming and relaxation.
"The complex has its roots in the
Anxiety & Breathing to
Anything you do 4,000 to 20,000
times a day will influence you in ways you never may have
considered. Your breathing controls 95% of your fuel-to-energy
production and flow. The entire autonomic nervous system and the
functioning of our internal organs are largely driven by our
breathing patterns, be they good or bad. By changing our
breathing we can influence millions of biochemical reactions in
our body. We also can produce more relaxing substances such as
endorphins and fewer anxiety-producing ones like adrenaline and
the toxins which contribute to blood acidity.
The Runaway Anxiety Bus
Let?s recall two wise ancient laws: "Breath is life?, and
"Control your breathing and you control your life."
The way you breathe can make you really sick or make you well.
Anxiety, blood pressure, phobias, addictions, asthma, anger or
pain reduction, constipation, calming and relaxation all are
linked in whole or in part to certain ways of breathing.
Breathing can drive your nervous system in two very different
ways: as if you were a five-year-old child at the wheel of a
fast-moving bus in rush hour traffic, or as if your were a
veteran Formula 1 driver cruising in control at 200 miles per
hour. Most of us fall someplace in between
When stress arises, it is one thing to be alerted to and calmly
avoid a threat, but it is altogether another thing to overreact
with fear, fight, fainting, freezing, fumbling or addiction to
inappropriate actions like drinking, smoking, fighting, sexing,
zealotry or other excessive activity.
For most people, a certain level of anxiety becomes a daily
occurrence that they unfortunately get used to. From or along
with this comes distorted breathing patterns which take over the
job of "driving the bus." Excessive stress, anxiety or trauma
worsens bad breathing, further increasing our anxiety and
nervousness and leading to a decline in health. Failed attempts
to stay in control of ?the runaway bus? and change the way we
feel only make things worse. When our breathing is not in
balance, our reactions to the activities we face in our daily
lives tend to become distorted and negatively magnified.
One can interpret anything as negative. The mind can trigger
unbalanced breathing and nervousness, which can worsen to
full-blown panic, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, hot
flashes, ulcers, constipation, heart attacks and strokes. With
breathing semi-permanently out of balance, overreactions to
perfectly harmless events can be just as damaging as a real
There are many contributors to anxiety and increases in
emotional pain. Some include toxic foods, food additives,
refined sugar, alcohol, caffeine, adrenal dysfunction and
prescription or recreational drugs. Situations in life that are
potentially or presently threatening cause anxiety. The idea
that you do not have enough time to accomplish this or that is
another potent cause of anxiety. All too often, we forget that
we can chose our project load and completion timelines, but
instead, take on too many projects or responsibilities that
invite anxiety. Of course, spending too much money and getting
into debt begets worrying and major anxiety, as does being out
When our breathing overreacts in an unbalanced way, the body
typically tightens in several areas. Holding our breath or
breathing shallowly to try to stay in control only worsens the
situation by creating oxygen deprivation and more tension,
heightening the stress response. Then the tension sets in to
stay. This further restricts respiration and produces shallow,
rapid distorted breathing. Shallow breathing numbs our feelings
and traps the anxiety inside, blocking smooth energy flow. This,
in turn, triggers more physiological or psychological arousal,
sending us up the anxiety and confusion escalator and then
possibly down into depression, malaise and confusion.
Psychosomatic illness greatly stems from this process.
Taking Control & Restoring Calm With the Breath
Trying to change a bad habit without changing your breathing
pattern is a lot like trying to stay calm while swimming
upstream against a rampage of logs, boats, snakes and hungry
alligators coming downstream.
Generally, the first line of defense against anxiety is to
remove negative stimuli. If the caffeine you are ingesting is
making you jittery, stop drinking caffeinated beverages and
eating chocolate treats. If there is snake in the room, remove
the snake or leave the area!
If your environment invites too many unhealthful temptations and
you feel the need for a safe house, take a vacation at a retreat
center or a tropical island where you can leave it all behind.
If those ideas are impractical, instead of smoking, boozing,
taking drugs or abusing comfort foods to calm yourself down or
numb yourself out, you can reduce your anxious reactions by
changing your breathing. You can consciously slow down AND
balance your breathing to reduce your anxiety level. In fact,
you can learn how to do this at will and, often, with completely
Anxiety & Panic Attack Stopping Exercise
The good news is that our nervous system responses to all
stressors can be managed well with proper breathing patterns
that are maintained and strengthened by specific breathing
techniques and exercises.
Here is an exercise to practice that has been known to stop
anxiety or panic attacks immediately. Stand and press your
thumbs into your back over your kidneys (the soft spots below
your rib cage and pelvis). Bring your fingers around towards
your belly button. Exhale, then squeeze (not pinch) your fingers
and thumbs together. Now, breathe in against the pressure,
forcing the thumbs and fingers apart as you fill and expand your
lower, belly, back and sides. Release your finger pressure and
Repeat the exercise, this time counting slowly to 4 on the
inhale. Then very, very slowly exhale, holding back the breath
and counting to 8 while making sure you do not tense your belly.
This is called the Optimal Squeeze and Breathe.
This exercise can be quite
helpful as a temporary quick-fix approach to relieving anxiety.
In some cases, however, the body may actually need more oxygen
and not necessarily a slowing down of the breath.
The Ultimate Strategy for Steady Calm & Happiness
The best approach is to manage the immediate anxiety and change
your breathing so that you automatically stay calm and avoid
becoming over-anxious in the first place. "Courage under fire"
might be one way of looking at it, but it is really more about
grounding, relaxing, and feeling safe and calm inside one's
Along with breathing, another tool for handling any episode of
emotional stress is to simply focus one?s attention on the
feelings that arise, feeling them deeply and allowing them to
flow. Well-grounded, natural breathing allows us to feel our
feelings, relax, release stress and address anxiety more
Breathing Well Takes Training
Many have forgotten or never known what grounded, balanced and
centered breathing feels like. Just like tasting a cherimoya is
necessary to truly know the flavor, reading about balanced
breathing will never impart the knowledge or the good feeling.
Breath really is life. The way we breathe either improves or
worsens every aspect of life. My recommendation for managing
anxiety, blood pressure, phobias, addictions, asthma, anger and
pain and cultivating calming and relaxation is my Deepest Calm
TM Program at
www.breathing.com/deepest-calm.htm. Please check out the
program and remember that breath is your source of
vitality...so, breathe well!
See testimonial below
I just wanted to give you some
I purchased the Deepest Calm program
because I had struggled with anxiety for two years. I had talked
with a psychologist about it, and although he was wonderful, he
could not help me with this. I tried to just forget about it and
keep my mind occupied, but this rarely worked (I was successful
maybe two days every year when I was on vacation). I tried
meditation and that didn't help with this either (sometimes it felt
like it made it worse).
I was beginning to get pretty
desperate, because this was greatly ruining my quality of life and I
was so scared it would never go away. But I also had a feeling that
I was looking for solutions in the wrong places, because my anxiety
felt very physical (a CONSTANT 24/7 pressure in the chest area).
After purchasing and receiving the optimal breathing package, I
tried the strapping technique, and it was so incredible effective, I
could hardly believe it. The pressure in my chest lessened
dramatically right away. I chose a few other techniques I felt drawn
to as well, and I picked a few that were helpful and easy to do. In
the beginning I had to do the exercises for a few minutes (10-15)
everyday to keep the anxiety feeling in my chest at bay, but after
maybe two weeks or less I could get away with skipping more and more
days and also doing less repetitions.
After a while I just stopped doing
them, because I didn't have to anymore. I know I would still benefit
greatly from doing breathing exercises regularly, but I have just
gotten lazy since I don't have the anxiety problem anymore.
Occasionally I'll feel some pressure in the chest (everyone gets
anxious now and then and I know I have too much stress, both
internal and external, in my life at the moment, so I don't consider
this a relapse at all), but I know that if I just do a few of the
techniques for maybe 5 minutes or less it will be fine. I'm so
I would recommend for people who are
overwhelmed (like I was) to just start with the basic kit, and
choose maybe just two or three exercises you feel drawn to and focus
on them. You can always build on and mix it up later if you wish. If
you have any questions, email Mike and ask, he's very helpful!
is the FIRST place not the LAST place one should
investigate when any disordered energy presents itself."
Sheldon Saul Hendler, MD Ph.D., The Oxygen Breakthrough
"He who breathes most
air lives most life."
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
"Mike's Optimal Breathing teachings should be incorporated into
the physical exam taught in medical schools as well as other allied physical and mental health programs, particularly
education, and speech, physical, and respiratory therapy."
Dr. Danielle Rose, MD, NMD, SEP