Tip Tuesday: How to stop an anxiety spiral

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How to stop an anxiety spiral

Learning to relax is easier said than done. But during the past two decades, I have adopted a yoga and meditation practice, both of which teach mindful breathing to reduce stress and anxiety. After learning basic breathwork techniques, I realized that my shortness of breath was not because I couldn’t breathe in but that I wasn’t breathing out.  

I was so full of stress and tension, I could not let go of one breath to get another. 

Amy Meyer Yoga and Breathwork

"Breathwork balances the parasympathetic nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system to take us from fight or flight mode to rest and relaxation," explains Amy Meyer, RYT-200 and founder of The SoulShine Collective and yoga instructor at Kickin' It Fitness Studio in DeFuniak Springs, FL.

Medicinal meditation

I practiced for years with one breathwork technique after another until I found one (eventually several) that works for me.  I can’t say that I’ve completely recovered all these years later. Sometimes, I still feel the breath being squeezed out of me, but now I know what to do:


  •  Find a peaceful place to sit with proper posture.
  •  Either close my eyes or find a fixed point to focus on.
  •  Breathe out slowly to a count of four
  • Hold for a count of four
  • Breathe in slowly to a count of four
  • Hold for a count of four
  •  Repeat. Slowly.  

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