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A Complete Guide to Relaxation and Breathing Techniques for Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Person being guided by relaxation and breathing techniques for anxiety and panic attacks

Now-a-days, people are increasingly becoming sufferers of anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Here are a few ways through which you can manage your anxiety and panic. These methods can also be used during times of stress, when you're not exactly experiencing a panic attack. A small disclaimer before going into the different techniques you can try. Though these techniques may be helpful in managing your anxiety, they are in no way an alternative or an in-depth, all-solving solution. They simply aid in the management of your anxiety and panic. However these techniques are not effective at finding the root cause of anxiety.

  1. Abdominal Breathing: When we are experiencing distress, our breathing tend to get erratic and often shallow. This breathing exercise will help bring the breathing pace back to normal. The following are the instructions to do this exercise.

    1. Sit comfortably, you can lie down if you want. Place your hands over your belly. Breathe in slowly until you cannot take more air in and make sure your belly pops out with the air. Breathe out slowly. Ensure that the pace of exhale is extremely slow. Repeat for 10 minutes. Practice this a few times a day.

  2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation: When we are anxious our body and muscles tend to get tensed. This exercise helps to reduce the tension that our muscles are feeling and induce relaxation. Once the tension of the muscle is reduced, this communicates that the body is calm and safe, and reduces the need to activate flight or fight response.

    1. This exercise is done by taking a small part of the body, tensing it deliberately, and then releasing it. Then moving on to the adjacent part of the body in doing the same. For example, start by Clenching your fist and then holding it for a few seconds and letting it go. You can feel the tensed muscle relax when you're clenching your fist. The next would be your hand, followed by your bicep and then the other fist.

    2. There are tracks available. To guide you on how to do progressive muscle relaxation on various anxiety disorder program websites as well as You Tube.

  3. Guided Imagery: In this technique, you bring to mind some soothing scenes, places and experiences which might help you relax and focus. When doing this technique, ensure that you're bringing into your mind some scenery that is of personal significance. However, bear in mind that this particular technique might be a little difficult for those who have intrusive thoughts and have difficulty in conjuring up mental images. For this technique as well, there are different tracks online which can be used as a guide.

  4. Body Scan: This method is similar to the technique mentioned above, progressive muscle relaxation. However, the difference is the fact that, unlike in progressive muscle relaxation, you will not be clenching or tensing any part of your body. Instead, you will lay down, focus on each part of the body, mentally scanning yourself and being aware of every single portion of your body, all the while, noticing any aches, pain, tension or, any sort of discomfort that your body might be feeling. Remember to do this exercise in a progressive and structured manner rather than choosing your body parts at random. An example would be starting from your feet, moving to your ankles, your calves, thighs, and then your whole leg. Similarly, start with the smallest portion, move to the portion that is closest to the it, and continue in the same way. When shifting focus from one part of the body to the other, imagining that you are releasing that body part can help in relaxation. During this technique, if any emotion or discomfort comes up, acknowledge them and accept it without criticism. Do not judge yourself for these emotions. Notice them and simply let them pass.

During any of the above mentioned relaxation techniques, it is possible that some intrusive thoughts and unwanted thoughts might cross your mind. Simply let those thoughts come and go. Do not focus on it. Additionally, though these techniques are quite useful in managing your emotions and stress. It is equally important to find out the root cause behind it and that you can do by going to therapy so that it doesn't resurface again. So one of the major misconceptions about relaxation techniques is that it is only necessary to do them when you are experiencing anxiety. It is not so. More often than not, it is recommended to do relaxation techniques at least twice a day Even if you are not experiencing anxiety or distress. This is so that when the time comes when you're feeling distressed, you will be able to relax your body and your mind. More easily.

Additionally, although there are many templates and videos available online on helping you how to relax. These will never be a substitute to a therapist or a psychologist. If you are experiencing increased levels of distress, it is important to consult a psychologist on our platform.

Kaizen Wellbeing is an online therapy platform in Dubai, UAE that caters to South Asian community. There is a dearth of good therapy establishments that accommodate the mental health needs of the brown community. We aim to bridge that gap by providing you quality and affordable care by qualified and warm therapists. Reach out at or +971 50 961 8796 and book your first session towards understanding yourself and other’s better.

If you have any queries please put them down in the comments section and we will try our best to answer them and help you out.


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