5 Deep breathing exercises for panic attacks

The real reason behind panic attacks is the alarm system in human beings that sends false alarm signals. This system was designed to send alerts whenever you are in danger and need more energy to survive. But in some occasions it sends false signals when there isn’t any real, significant threat, in situations like public speaking, attending an interview etc.

Fear is the main cause of panic attacks.


This fear might be of

  • Losing something valuable
  • Unable to cope with the situation
  • Humiliation
  • Failure
  • Ill health/ death.

 Occurrence period of such panic attacks varies from 5 to 20 minutes. Normally these panic attacks may not fatal or life threatening but if they last for more than 20 minutes, immediate medical aid is must for recovery.

The symptoms of panic attacks:

  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • feeling of sickness
  • Unable to breathe
  • Hear beats faster
  • Feeling of Choking or suffocation
  • Fear of dying or becoming insane.

Causes of panic attacks:

Whenever you feel being under a threat the body releases Adrenalin to cope with the situation.

What does Adrenalin do?

Whenever you are under threat, you need more energy than usual quantity to face the situation.

Adrenalin makes your heart pump more blood into the organs so that more oxygen can be reached to every organ. This Oxygen helps in generating energy in body cells leading to deal with this fight or flight situation. Actually Adrenalin is designed to face physical threats by facing the situation or running away from the danger, but unfortunately , in this modern day, our body misinterprets social events as threats to our body and releases Adrenalin.

Adrenalin also makes you sweat, in order to cool your body temperature while running.(but you are probably in a social threat and don’t need to cool your body temperature).



Controlling panic attacks with breathing exercises:

Avoiding (Or controlling) fear is the best cure for panic attacks.

But it is not so simple.

for some extent, Controlling the fear is possible, by practicing some deep breathing exercises.

1.  The simplest exercise is to inhale through nose deeply. Now exhale through mouth slowly. Keep calm and just concentrate on breathing exercise.

2.  Slow abdominal breathing is helpful in aborting and preventing panic attacks. So, if you are under panic attack, start breathing with diaphragm or belly slowly. Six breaths per minute should be the target. Focus on easy rise of belly during inhaling and fall of belly during exhaling while lying on your back. Process should be slow and easy going without efforts.

In case the person is not able to move belly, put some weight (4-5 pound) on it. Or simply put a heavy book such as a dictionary.

Another way to move belly is to take position like four legged animal. In this situation chest gets locked and belly starts working. No movement of chest is allowed in breathing through belly.

Other methods in yoga to overcome anxiety and panic attacks:


3.  Anand Madirasana

  • Sit  in Vajrasana pose.
  • Keep your  palms over the knees.
  • Keep the spinal chord and the neck straight.
  • Keep the elbow and the hand straight.
  • Close the eyes and get concentrate on the middle of eyebrows.

4.  Nadi Shodhan Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing):

  1. Sit straight and keep your shoulders relaxed.
  2. Place the tip of the index finger and middle finger of the right hand in between the eyebrows, the ring finger and little finger on the left nostril, and the thumb on the right nostril.
  3. Close the right nostril with thumb and exhale gently through the left nostril.
  4. Now inhale through the left nostril breathe out from the right.
  5. Breathe in from the right nostril and exhale from the left.
  6. Continue breathing in and out from alternate nostrils.
  7. Keep your eyes closed throughout and continue taking long, deep, breaths.

5. Bhramari Pranayama :

    Bhramari pranayama is very effective in bringing instant relaxation.

  • Keep your index fingers on the cartilage between your cheek and ear.
  • Now press them gently.

Take a deep breathe inside and start making  a humming sound like a bee.



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