Often times your body will respond to stress physically as well as mentally or emotionally. A common physical stress response is your heart will begin to race. It may feel like once it starts, you cannot get it to stop. Learning deep breathing techniques can help your heart. Slow, deep breaths will slow your heart rate and possibly help you manage your heart palpitations.
Try these breathing techniques to manage your heart palpitations:
- Deep Breathing – Sit up straight and inhale through your nose. Count to 4 or 5. Hold your breath for a count of 5 and exhale through your mouth for a count of 8. Repeat several times. You can do this technique lying down too. My heart palpitations were so bad that I would get very weak (my average heart rate was 213 beats a minute). I would have to hold my breath for even longer and I felt that it helped to oxygenate my cells. My theory was the oxygen would help me from feeling so weak.
- I’m out of breath! (Use to regain your regular breathing pattern) – Relax your neck and shoulders. Inhale slowly through your nose and count to 3. Pretend you are about to whistle and breathe out for a count of 6 or longer. Repeat until you are able to breathe at your normal rate.
- Abdominal Focused Breathing – Putone hand on your chest and one on your abdomen. Inhale through your nose and your belly should extend out. (If your chest extends out more than your abdomen you are not properly doing this exercise so keep trying!) Hold your inhaled breath for a count between 5 and 7. Breathe out of your mouth and your belly should pull back in. Repeat five times.
- Short & Shallow – Take a short breath through your nose and blow out through mouth. Repeat 10 times.
Some people may find that focusing on their breathing actually makes them hyperventilate or panic. Should this happen to you, contact your doctor or counselor and discuss other techniques to relax.
Dr. Robert Fulford, DO says, “The foundation of prosperous health depends on the basic ability of getting oxygen to the cells, and deep breathing is the simplest, most fundamental method of accomplishing that.”
Remember, breathing exercises help keep chest muscles (like your heart) active!