Saturday, May 2, 2009

Controlling Anxiety: Technique One - 5 Count Breathing

Anxiety and Crohn's Disease sometimes go hand in hand. Having a condition that causes stomach pain, frequent trips to the bathroom and general discomfort it's really no wonder we feel a little on edge. A lot of doctors will prescribe so called 'anti-anxiety' medication but this is really just a band-aid. These pills actually cause anxiety to get worse over time. They were never intended for long term use. There are a number of techniques you can use to control anxiety. I thought I'd devote the next few blogs to some of the better techniques.

5 Count Breathing is the best technique you'll ever have for controlling anxiety. When we become anxious our breathing becomes rapid and shallow which makes us feel lightheaded, dizzy, our heart beats faster and lights and sounds can seam further away. This makes Anxiety worse which makes us breath faster and shallower.... you can see where I'm going with this.

The 5 count breathing technique does two things, it forces us to slow our breathing down, so we breathe deeper. Secondly, it gives us something other than the rising anxiety to focus on. Both of which will lessen the anxiety.


1. Breathe in to the count of 5.

2. Hold for the count of 5.

3. Breathe out to the count of 5.

4. Repeat steps 1-3 five times

This is great to use when a panic attack comes on, it really does stop it in it's tracks. It has a cumulative effect too, over time anxiety attacks become less intense and less frequent. Some people find that spelling relax instead of counting helps. I advocate doing whatever works for you.

The key here is to breathe through your diaphragm, rather than your chest. To learn to do this is easy. Lay flat on your back and place one hand on your abdomen. Take slow deep breaths in and out. Once you feel your hand rising your doing it right. Your chest should remain fairly still.


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