“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Anxiety, you take my breath away, and not because your beauty exceeds that of a North Dakota sunrise, or because your eloquent words pierce like Cupid’s arrow. You take my breath away because you’re the S.O.B. strangling me with your grip and jabbing a knee to my gut.
For many, shortness of breath leeches onto anxiety. It is a common symptom and often a sign of coming anxiousness before stress is even realized. And though there are different levels of intensity, from mild to debilitating, a breathing issue almost always piles more stress onto an already anxious life. Whether, at times, you can’t catch a breath, or you pant bullets quicker than a machine gun, you should implement regular breathing exercises to help you stay calm.
Select a breathing app that most appeals to you, download it, and use it proactively and/or reactively. On my Android, when stress overtakes me, I rely on an app that is simply called Breathe. But, maybe you are living in a cave somewhere or you’re a diehard dumb-phone loyalist. That’s fine. You don’t need an app to practice healthy breathing. Find a timer or follow the second hand on a clock (or just do some good ol’ fashioned counting). Inhale through the nose for five seconds, hold for three, then out through the mouth for five. Do that for two minutes, and feel your body relax as you focus your breathing and reset your mind. Add soothing music or Chamomile tea for bonus points.