«Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord» (Psalm 31 :24, ESV)
Many of the symptoms of anxiety can be caused by an improper breathing pattern. Muscle pain, nauseas, tachycardia, dizziness and headaches are often times the effects of breathing disorders which affect the arterial C02 (carbon dioxide) tensions and produce significant changes in the circulation of the blood in the brain. Researchers from the University of Washington, in their article titled «Anxiety, Respiration, and Cerebral Blood Flow: Implications for Functional Brain Imaging,» point out that cerebral blood flow, anxiety states and respiratory changes affect one another.
Thus, to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, it is important to practice good breathing techniques. Diaphragmatic breathing is one of the most frequent recommended technique in controlling stress and anxiety. It basically consists of taking abdominal breaths which are deeper than the thoracic ones. This type of respiration usually occurs in moments of relaxation. Imagine sunbathing on a quiet beach and enjoying a stress-free day. If you placed your hand on your abdomen, you would definitely notice the slow motions of respiration. In other words, abdominal breathing happens spontaneously during moments of relaxation.
On the contrary, if you were thinking of something that worries you, your breathing would likely be irregular, shorter and superficial. It is likely that the tension makes you hunch your shoulders, compressing the lungs and obstructing ventilation even more. It is then necessary to apply the diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing technique that may help relax the mind and give strength to the heart.
In the face of the difficulties of life, acquiring a proper breathing pattern is essential. Thus, it is necessary to maintain a posture that allows expansion and free movement of the lungs. Likewise, it is advisable to make a habit out of this type of respiration that offers a sense of control in times of doubt when it is practiced. The daily practice of diaphragmatic breathing reduces anxiety and stimulates relaxation. «Full, deep inspirations of pure air, which fill the lungs with oxygen, purify the blood. They impart to it a bright color and send it, a life-giving current, to every part of the body. A good respiration soothes the nerves; it stimulates the appetite and renders digestion more perfect; and it induces sound, refreshing sleep. The Ministry of Healing, ch. 20, p. 272).
Would you like to try it? Take a break and breathe. Make an effort and inhale the best air for the ventilation of your lungs. At the same time, seek the atmosphere of the sky that can uplift you above any worry.