My quest on beating anxiety
I don’t talk about this much but decided to let it out today. So, I have been suffering from pretty bad anxiety attacks for the past 10 months or so.
It has been a life-sucking experience if you ask me because when anxiety kicks in, there aren’t a lot of things that are in your control. One of these things is your breathing pattern.
In my case, when I get anxious, my breath shortens, chest pains, and my heartbeat races through pretty rapidly. And trust me, this isn’t a nice feeling at all.
It usually takes 20-25 minutes to cool this all down. And so, I had to find something to mitigate this chronic situation.
One of the ways I have been told is to practice deep breathing.
Now, the problem with this is if you don’t have practiced deep breathing enough, you won’t be able to do it when you become overly anxious. So, it’s best if you can practice it while you’re still calm and composed.
I started doing Anulom Vilom which is a specific form of pranayam where you do controlled breathing. It involves holding one nostril closed while inhaling, then holding the other nostril closed while exhaling. The process is then reversed and repeated.
The way I do it is I sit down in a meditation sitting pose and try to be calm for a while. Then I close the right nostril, inhale from the left nostril as much as I can, hold the breath for 5-6 seconds, close the left nostril, and exhale through the right nostril very slowly. I try to exhale as slow as I can until I feel the air is completely out of my lungs.
I would literally feel all the worries and anxiety leaving my body as I exhale at this point.
Then I repeat the same process from the right nostril as well. And again from the left nostril. And so on!
Presently, I’m doing Anulom Vilom for the duration of ~10 minutes as and when I get free but I plan to increase the duration gradually.
And as for the benefits, I have noticed after each Anulom Vilom session, I feel a sense of calm, the heartbeats smoothens and eventually, I become less anxious.
I think I’ll stick to doing this pranayam since getting out of this vicious cycle of anxiety will surely take some time and I’m ready to do whatever it takes.
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