Some years ago my son phoned me while I was at work, his older sister who was in charge had cut her hand and was screaming. He put her on the line, she was in agony – I later found she had severed several tendons in her hand – I gave the usual first aid instructions as I grabbed my keys and ran out the office door, but I also found myself telling her to breathe.
Later she said what an odd bit of advice, how could she not breathe? It was odd advice, I was panicking too much to qualify it. I had meant, slow down, don’t panic breathe, stay calm, I read recently that by controlling your breathing you can reduce anxiety, without medication, very effectively and I think that’s true. When my ex left mediation became my new bed companion. I have learnt to take longer breathing out than breathing in whenever anxiety strikes. It helps.