Counting My Breath Diminishes Anxiety

I am prone to anxiety that can rapidly intensify into full-blown panic.

Fortunately, I discovered that focusing on the breath diverts my mind from generating one worse case scenario after another. I can detect the first stirrings of anxiety and use awareness of the breath to ease the discomfort and prevent a scary downward spiral into panic and terror.

I usually count each inhale and exhale, starting with 1 on an exhale and restartng the cycle after a count of 10. Sometimes my mind will wander and I will notice that my count is much higher than 10 or that I completely lost count. That’s ok, I just pick back up with a fresh “one” on the next exhale.

I find that after a few cycles, when my mind wanders it wanders into harmless musing about everyday things like what I might cook for dinner, instead of creating scenarios that end in my death! Soon, I feel all back to normal, reconnected to my body and grounded.

I struggled with panic disorder for years and learning this technique has helped me learn to manage it skillfully.  I have not descended into terror for a long time and for this am extremely grateful.