The role of the breath in the management of anticipatory anxiety

The role of the breath in the management of anticipatory anxiety

The observation of the breath is the basis of many types of meditation. However, this technique also finds fruitful applications in some Western psychological therapies concerning specific anxiety states, such as anticipatory anxiety.

The role of the breath in the management of anticipatory anxiety

You know when at the very idea of ​​carrying out a given action a creeping anxiety takes hold of you and you would do everything, really everything, to avoid that task? Go to a place, take the means, leave for a trip etc …

Well, in very simple terms, you are experiencing an anticipatory anxiety attack and you are implementing the avoidance strategy related to it: try to escape the feared event in every way because it causes discomfort, so much so that it also causes anxiety before . of a departure and to question the holiday itself.

Putting this profane explanation aside, we leave the floor to an expert on the subject for a technical definition of the disorder: ” The term anticipatory anxiety a is used to describe a condition of anxiety at the idea of ​​having to face some feared situations. Well, this type of anticipatory anxiety is characteristic of Panic Disorder . Those suffering from this problem tend to live with concern the mere idea of ​​having to face situations in the future that are considered at risk of panic attacks such as traveling, driving in traffic, leaving home, being alone, getting into the subway ” , explains Dr. Spagnulo, psychiatrist and psychotherapist.

Why is this type of anxiety to be recognized and learned to manage? First of all because it is the antechamber and the incubator of the panic attack (which often follows it after hours or days), then for the limiting component that it brings with it: in fact, there is a tendency to avoid the event that it generates it by making the anxious state chronic and involving a limitation, sometimes very serious, of one’s personal freedom.

Furthermore, recent studies show that states of anxiety not managed correctly would cause the shortening of telomeres, favoring the aging of cells .

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A simple but powerful exercise

Obviously, understanding the root causes of one’s anxiety is a profound job that must be done first and foremost by the person and, if necessary, with the supervision of a professional . Here we will limit ourselves to providing some suggestions and giving you some food for thought to put into practice when you feel this specific type of anxiety.

Here is an important exercise : as the aforementioned Dr. Spagnulo the first thing to do is to become aware of the malaise you are experiencing, of the thoughts and fears that distinguish it.

At this point the attention is brought to the breath, as many meditation techniques teach. There is no standard time, you continue until you feel a feeling of relief and the “thought-consequent anxiety” loop is broken.

Once calm is regained, the usual activities are continued without setting up any avoidance conduct. If the distressing thoughts return, the exercise of attention on the breath is repeated until they subside and so on.

The point of this technique is not to erase anxiety, but to recognize it, manage it and slowly tear away a few moments of calm breath by breath.


Also discover the yoga asanas useful against anxiety


Commit to your own well-being

Is it so little? No, the most important thing is needed: constant commitment and desire to face and solve one’s problems. At first, this exercise will seem useless or trivial also because avoiding is much more comfortable: let’s not fall into this trick of our mind and at least give it a chance.

Seeing is believing.

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