Overcoming Panic Attacks with the 7-11 Breathing Technique
by Erika Slater
Do you have anxiety issues or the onset of panic attacks where you feel like things are growing out of control, including your breathing?
Do you have a difficult time catching your breath, or calming yourself down?
Then perhaps the time has come for you to learn a good breathing technique which will help you next time you feel anxious and totally stressed out!
Whenever you enter into a heightened state of stress, anxiety or panic, your body’s general inclination is to begin to take in more oxygen via breathing. For individuals, it can take form in short, rapid shallow breaths, or conversely gasping for air.
This is what experts would refer to experiencing a ‘fight or flight’ response.
There are a host of other bodily sensations and changes that also occur, but I won’t mention them as this is about breathing. Regardless of what changes are occurring in your body out of panic, it is important to reel them in, and minimize both the psychological and bodily stresses as much as possible.
Interestingly, this can best be achieved through your breathing.
When people are stressed out and have a panic attack, often times they may think they’re having a heart attack based on their breathing.
You see the chest tightens during stress attacks, making it appear more difficult to breath, and the more you try to breath using your chest only, the more likely you’re going to have difficulty catching your breath. With that said, it’s more beneficial to breathe using your abdomen.
This is what ‘7-11 Breathing’ is all about – breathing from your stomach.
THE SIMPLE GUIDE TO 7-11 BREATHING TECHNIQUE:
First off, you need to ensure you’re breathing properly.
When stress occurs, you begin breathing in for a count of 7 seconds and then slowly exhale, preferably through your mouth using an 11 second count.
Remember to count in seconds not run through the numbers as quickly as you can.
A trick to count in seconds is to add the word “and” between each number. This forces you to slow down and count in seconds. Example: 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5 and 6 and 7. Emphasizing “and” each time will slow you down even more if you still find yourself going too fast!
Once you’ve done this process, continue to repeat it.
It’s important to count out in your mind for each routine. The counting itself will help calm you as it serves as a primary distraction. Always make your exhale longer than your inhale!
Adding visualization to the counting is a key component – don’t skip this part.
This next technique comes from Melody Fletcher’s Blog (with a few twists I’ve used with folks) and you can find a link to it in the resource section below…
When you’re exhaling, repeat to yourself, “Everything down, everything down. It’s ok. It’s ok!” While saying this, imagine that blue arrows are pointed towards your feet. While you’re visualizing, the blue arrows pointing downward toward your feet, repeat over and over, “This will pass. This is passing.”
While you’re repeating these mantras, imagine a fuse box with on and off switches. As you continue breathing and repeating your mantras, each time in your mind’s eye see yourself switching them from the “on” to “off” position.
These “fuses” represent your worry and each time you flip one off, your worry is diminishing.
As you continue to do this, your stress and tension will dissipate and you’ll feel less tense.
This process takes a little while to master – practice makes perfect. The neat thing about this exercise is it can help you relax more deeply quicker regardless if you’re under attack or high-stress situation.
Finally, here at Free At Last Hypnosis we practice what we preach. We leverage concepts discussed here as a resource during our stress and anxiety hypnosis management program which you can learn more about it here >>>
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES RELATED TO PANIC ATTACKS:
Erika Slater CH
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