Belly breathing isn’t an easy skill to learn… especially for a panicker like me.
When I first started trying to breathe diaphragmatically while under lots of stress in grad school, the whole effort was a miserable failure. Whenever I tried, even in the comfort of my own apartment, I felt like I wasn’t getting enough air. And that airless feeling, in turn, would usually trigger a panic attack.
Despite my perennial pessimism in most other parts of life, I kept trying.
I kept trying at home. I kept trying in my university’s anxiety management class. I kept trying in the library. I kept trying and trying and trying.
And now, four or five odd years later, I’m finally able to breathe out of my belly instead of my upper chest. Through mindfulness, I’m now able to notice when my breathing pattern is off — and then, I can consciously correct it.
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