The Anxiety Disorders Association of America reports that anxiety is now the most commonly diagnosed mental illness in the United States. Less than 25% of sufferers will actually receive any kind of treatment for the affliction. The disorder can be broken down into generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Aside from medication, there are some ways we can help relieve anxiety. One of the ways is breathing.
“When you don’t get enough oxygen, the brain receives a ‘danger’ signal, which perpetuates your mind-body state of anxiety,” says Jonathan Davidson, M.D., director of the Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Program at Duke University Medical Center. “Your breathing quickens and becomes even more shallow; in an extreme case this can lead to a full-blown panic attack, in which the person begins to hyperventilate.”
So breathing can actually be an important key in helping relieve our anxiety. That’s where this ancient breathing technique becomes useful. One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that slow, diaphragmatic breathing proved as effective in reducing anxiety than imipramine, an antidepressant.
Pranayama breathing may do what it takes to make you feel better, but of course, don’t suffer silently. If you need professional help, seek it out.