Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Why does deep breathing help anxiety and how do you do it in the car?

When people think of anxiety, they often think of certain situations. While they realize that there are certain situations that can cause anxiety, like flying or public speaking, people tend to forget that anxiety can also happen while driving. Many people think that driving anxiety is easy to overcome, but there are many who have trouble getting into a car, driving, or traveling long distances outside of their comfort zone. They become anxious, and begin to have trouble with anxiety or even panic.

When people start to feel anxious or upset, they start to breathe shallowly. This causes many of the physical symptoms which scare people and makes their anxiety worsen, such as lightheadedness, unreality, or tingling. Deep breathing has been known to be a great way to help someone get rid of panic attacks and anxiety. The techniques of deep breathing help people to calm down and relax; if someone is having an anxiety attack in the car, calming down is what they need to do the most!

How does Deep Breathing Work?

Deep breathing techniques use breathing to bring your body and mind into a calm state. For some people, deep breathing techniques simply require that you take deep breaths repetitively. For others, you are required to completely focus on breathing and nothing else. You are asked to turn off all appliances and lights so that you may close your eyes and completely focus on your breathing. Focusing on your breath is a great way to calm yourself down, both body and mind. Deep breathing gets you to focus on the breathing instead of any other aspect; if you are having anxiety, you simply breathe deeply to take your mind off whatever is causing the anxiety and reduce the bodily sensations that hyperventilation can cause.

How Can Deep Breathing Works in the Car?

Deep breathing can easily work in a car for those who are struggling with anxiety due to driving. If the anxiety is slight, you can simply work on deep breathing while you drive. This is the form of simple deep breathing that only requires you to take deep breaths and concentrate more on breathing than your mind’s reaction to driving.

If you are having a harder time with driving and are having a major anxiety attack, it is still possible to practice deep breathing techniques in the car. Pull into a parking lot (or onto the shoulder of the road) while you are beginning to have the attack. Turn off your car and focus on your breathing. Continue to focus on your breath until you notice that you have become calm, cool, and collected. This can be repeated as much as needed over the course of a car trip.

A lot of people think that deep breathing could not work for them, that it can’t be powerful enough for their anxiety. Deep breathing can actually be a great way for those who are anxious driving to get some quick relief and put their reaction into their own hands. If you are having anxiety or fear while driving, you can simply practice deep breathing on the road, or by pulling off of the road; no other type of work for anxiety can help you on the spot as quickly and easily as deep breathing can.

1 comment:

  1. Simply ‘Focusing on breathing’ can also help relieve anxiety. This can be done in many modes – tip mode, segment mode, counting mode, feeling mode, staring mode and (911) mode as described in my web page http://countingbreaths.com/fob/relax.

    *** For quick relief from anxiety the (911) mode and staring modes described below are very effective.

    (911) MODE: Breathe in through the nose or mouth quickly. Breathe out gently through the mouth, with your lips only slightly open. Focus on the sensation at the lips and the bulging cheeks while breathing out. In this mode, the out-breath is slow and long.

    STARING MODE: Select a small but prominently visible spot, mark or object, before you, as a target. While continuously staring at it, practice the tip mode or the counting mode.
    When feeling acute anxiety it is good to immediately use with the (911) mode for 5 to 10 breaths, even while driving. It helps in gaining some control over the anxiety. Then switch to the feeling mode.

    *** I use the staring mode at every red light. Whenever I stop at a red light, I keep on looking at the red light ,avoiding looking at the passing cars, people in them etc. Simultaneously I focus on my breathing using the counting mode or feeling mode. As soon as the light turns green, I take off! Gradually this becomes an automatic habit.

    *** People prone to chronic acute anxiety in driving may spend a minute or two, as soon as they sit in the car before starting it, then another minute after starting it, before leaving the garage or parking lot. To gradually eliminate the tendency towards anxiety this technique can be practiced at bed time, on waking up and any other time during the day. I hope this helps some people.


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