Cure Anxiety Panic Attacks Naturally

The best way to cure anxiety and panic attacks naturally is to look for the cause of the problem. The medication doctors prescribe, as well as Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) works by treating the symptom and not the cause. The natural approach should be more solution focused: it’s kinder to your body, works better and makes anxiety history sooner.

So how do you cure anxiety and panic attacks naturally? In an ideal world you would discover the cause of anxiety and treat it accordingly. In reality no two people are the same and figuring out what causes anxiety inside you is not easy. That means you are left with a process of trial and error, and more often than not it will be a combination of things that ultimately cures you of anxiety.

You need to examine yourself in these areas:

Brain Chemistry

It is possible that you are not producing enough serotonin due to a tryptophan deficiency. You could try a 5-HTP supplement. Or maybe you need an amino acid boost to raise your GABA levels. Naturally balancing your brain chemistry is much better than taking anti-depressants  and is much more of a permanent solution.

Nutrition


In this day and age it is easy to become deficient in vitamins and minerals. It is easy to correct these deficiencies but you need to be careful that you don’t overdose. You should pay particular attention to calcium and magnesium as well as Vitamin D. These vitamins and minerals can have a surprising effect on our psychological well-being.

Balance. A surprising amount of anxiety and agoraphobia is caused by balance problems. Very slight vestibular disorders (disorders of the inner-ear) can cause panic attacks in wide open spaces and supermarkets (typical of agoraphobia). While psychologists might still insist that these problems have their roots in childhood memory, science is moving on and finding many non-psychological causes of anxiety. Killing Anxiety From The Roots has a lot of information on this.

Breathing


Chronic Hyperventilation is linked to anxiety as a cause and symptom of anxiety. It is essential to practice good breathing everyday and this will pay dividends in a short time.

Breathing Techniques For Anxiety

I want to show you some breathing techniques for anxiety. Anxiety often results in breathing which is too fast and shallow, coming from the chest instead of the abdomen. This bad breathing tends to be part of a vicious circle that leads to more anxiety and panic attacks.

It is important to get into the habit of good breathing and know some breathing techniques for anxiety attacks that you can use when you are feeling anxious or stressed.

Muscle Tension and Posture

One cause of bad breathing is having a hunched, tight posture that keeps the upper-body tense. So when practising breathing techniques or when suffering anxiety it is important to start by relaxing the upper-body as much as possible. This is not as hard as it sounds. Just drop the shoulders a little and allow your jaw to hang. Close your eyes if possible and imagine all the muscles in your face and neck, and on your scalp, relaxing down, as if under gravity. See it in your mind’s eye.

Breathing Technique (1) – 10 minutes

Sit or lie comfortably. Relax as above. Bring your attention to your breathing and place one hand on your navel.

Breath in slowly through your nose to the count of three and feel your stomach move out slightly, as the air goes all the way down into your abdomen.

Breath out to a count of four through your nose. Don’t try and rush the breath, just let it leave. Everything should be slow and relaxed and natural.

Don’t make a conscious effort to breath in again. Your body will automatically start to breath in when it’s ready. Don’t rush it.

Continue this seven second breathing cycle for ten minutes or whatever feels comfortable. If it feels uncomfortable then stop at once.

Try and do this every day. But also take a few of these seven second breaths throughout the day, just a few cycles, and then forget your breathing and got on with whatever you were doing. This way you will start to form good breathing habits.

Breathing Technique (2) – as long as you want.

Relax physically as much as possible, as described above. Don’t worry if you are still feeling tense.

Take a slow breath through your nose down into your stomach, but as you breathe concentrate on the tips of your fingers and your toes. Feel as if you are breathing right into the extremities of your body.

Now imagine that the breath is actually entering your body through the souls of your feet and your fingertips. It’s not as crazy as it sounds and is incredibly relaxing.

Just keep your breaths slow and regular and allow your body to draw an in-breath when it’s ready. Don’t make the breaths so deep, slow and regular is fine.

Always stop breathing technique exercises if you feel discomfort. Also, you might want to build up the amount of time you spend doing these exercises, just start with what you can cope with, and what makes you feel good.

I recommend reading the seminal work on the subject:Hyperventilation Syndrome: Breathing Pattern Disorders and How to Overcome Them USA version Hyperventilation Syndrome: Breathing Pattern Disorder UK / Europe version and Self-Help for Hyperventilation Syndrome: Recognizing and Correcting Your Breathing Pattern Disorder USA version. The author of these books, Dinah Bradley, is a worldwide authority on Chronic Hyperventilation Syndrome.

Chronic Hyperventilation Syndrome and Anxiety

Chronic Hyperventilation Syndrome (also called HVS) is a common cause of anxiety. The relationship between anxiety and breathing is complicated. When we feel anxious, our breathing tends to increase and become shallow, from the chest. If we live our lives in a slight state of anxiety and habitually breathe from the chest then our oxygen and carbon dioxide levels get out of balance. This habit of bad breathing is called Chronic Hyperventilation Syndrome.

Chronic Hyperventilation Syndrome has a long list of nasty symptoms but few people experience them all. In the emotional/mental health arena the most common symptoms are anxiety, panic attacks, fearfulness and phobias, depression and low mood, chronic fatigue and low sex drive or impotence.

Many more Chronic Hyperventilation symptoms are also linked to anxiety, such as IBS and migraines.

The chest tightness and difficulty breathing that often accompanies anxiety and panic attacks are signs of hyperventilation. When we over-breathe we tend to gasp for breath and then feel like we can’t breathe and so try to breathe more. This vicious circle needs to be broken.

The best way to overcome Chronic Hyperventilation Syndrome is to go through a process of breath retraining. To do that, I recommend reading the seminal work on the subject:Hyperventilation Syndrome: Breathing Pattern Disorders and How to Overcome Them USA version Hyperventilation Syndrome: Breathing Pattern Disorder UK / Europe version and  Self-Help for Hyperventilation Syndrome: Recognizing and Correcting Your Breathing Pattern Disorder USA version. The author of these books, Dinah Bradley, is a worldwide authority on Chronic Hyperventilation Syndrome.

I have added a post on special breathing techniques for anxiety that you might well find useful. Also this post is dedicated to Anxiety Symptoms: Breathing.

Some doctors don’t really accept the existence of Chronic Hyperventilation Syndrome, but many people have found that changing their breathing habits make a huge difference to their lives, and their anxiety.

Hyperventialtion and Anxiety

The link between breathing and how much anxiety we feel is well documented. It is important to not breath too much and also not to breath into the chest. The thing is many of us have got into bad breathing habits. We breath too rapidly or to shallow, taking air into our chest without moving our stomachs. People often advise those with anxiety to breath deeply. If this advice is misunderstood then it can result in further hyperventilation leading to more anxiety.

The correct way to breath is to take air in through the nose slowly and expand the stomach as the diaphragm, the chest shouldn’t move much at all. The stomach should then retract in as the air is pushed out slowly through the nose. If we get into good breathing habits anxiety will diminish.

I have heard various pieces of advice some of which might be helpful. Firstly, when resting you should not normally be able to hear a breath, it should be so slow and light that it is soundless.

If you stand up and put your hands on your hips, or just above your hips, you should be able to feel your abdomen expand as you breath in.

You should breath, depending on who you listen to, between six and ten times a minute (some say twelve). Therefore a full breath cycle should take between six and ten seconds.

You should try and relax all unnecessary tension from your face, head, neck and shoulders. Pay attention to the jaw and forehead as these often hold unnecessary tension. This tension can encourage chest breathing and hyperventilation. The muscle relaxation and correct breathing will help tremendously with anxiety.

The easiest way to learn diaphragmatic breathing is to lie on your back with your legs straight and to place one hand on your chest and one just below your navel. Practise breathing so your navel hand rises but the chest doesn’t move much at all. It can help to put something heavy on the navel, such as a large book.

Obviously stop all breathing exercises if you feel any pain or unpleasant symptoms and seek professional advice.

Anxiety and Panic – Correct Breathing

Anxiety and panic attack sufferers always seem to be given the same advice when it comes to breathing: take long deep breaths from the diaphragm. But does this actually work?

Well, in times of high anxiety or panic anything which slows down the rate of breathing is bound to be beneficial. That said, therapists and “gurus” often have a lot to say about retraining your breathing. It is stated that those who suffer from panic attacks and anxiety often over-breath and take shallow breaths from the chest.

In fact, very few people take slow, deep diaphragmatic breaths. When relaxed, people tend to breath very lightly. It may well be true that anxiety and panic attack sufferers over-breath, but this is probably doe to taking too many breaths as opposed to not breathing deeply enough.
The Russian researcher Dr. K Buteyko pioneered a method of shallow breathing which is much more natural than the deep breathing exercises so often prescribed. These are now used with great success by those who have Asthma and other pulmonary conditions.

A similar approach can do wonders for anxiety and panic as well, and also aids sleep, concentration and mood.

You might also be interested in the Buteyko breathing method, which uses shallow breathing to rebalance oxygen and CO2 levels in your body.

The idea is fairly simple. Breath less. Sit down in a quite place, bring your attention to your breathing. Can you hear it? You shouldn’t be able to! Just concentrate on lessening the amount of air you take in. Make your breaths slower and shallower. Don’t try and do anything too radical, just practice lessening your breath everyday for a few weeks. Gradually it will become natural.

If this works for you you can expect more calmness, less panic and physical anxiety, better mood, more energy and better sleep!

You might also be interested in the Buteyko breathing method.