In my experience anxiety or worry over an event or situation is very different to suffering from a permanent state of anxiety. To suffer from anxiety is to feel in a constant state of fear, a bit like the feeling when someone makes you jump and your stomach jumps up to your throat, except that this feeling doesn’t go away, but stays in the body making you feel on edge all of the time.

Thankfully there are things that can help – there are a number of breathing exercises that can reduce anxiety, so here are just a couple to get you started:

Breath awareness – start with becoming aware of your natural breath, notice the coolness in the nostrils as you breathe in and the warmer air as you breathe out, spend a few moments here, then follow the breath into the body, observing the breath in the chest. Often when we are anxious our breathing is shallow and quick, so just notice the breath for a while, then start to breathe a little deeper filling the lungs more fully, allowing the chest and ribs to expand as you breathe in and relaxing the body as you breathe out. You could even place your hands on the ribs to feel the rise and fall of the breath, breathing deeply and slowly.

Pursed lip breathing – breathing in through the nostrils and out through the mouth, pursing the lips as if blowing a hot drink. This will help you to breathe deeper and slower, try to make the exhale longer and slower than the inhale and start to relax the body on each breath. Continue breathing in this way for as long as you choose.

There are no magic answers to experiencing anxiety, but there are certainly things that can help you cope and the breath is a great place to start. Good luck on your journey to a more calmer and relaxed you.