Coping Strategies

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Distracting Your Thoughts and Breathing control exercises

Distracting Your Thoughts

When you experience anxiety and anger, something to take your mind away from your thoughts and distract you can be helpful.


Breathing techniques

Increased respiration is one of the body’s fight/flight responses. Trauma survivors can chronically over-breathe as the breathing rate normally increases in the presence of a perceived threat, causing hyperventilation and contributing to panic attacks in some people (Giarratano, 2004b).

Controlled breathing techniques slow the respiration rate. Our breathing rate has an impact on our heart rate, blood pressure and the rest of our body. Breathing at the correct rate slows bodily processes, lowers arousal, and in turn reduces tension and stress. Slowing the breathing rate is an effective method of turning off the ‘fight/flight’ response.

It is helpful to use controlled breathing techniques at the first sign of anxiety or panic. People who tend to overbreathe or suffer panic attacks should use them before tackling difficult situations, and whenever they are feeling tense or anxious.

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“Blue Knot Foundation has a key role to play in the building of community capacity in care provision to those who have experienced childhood abuse and trauma in any environment.”

NIALL MULLIGAN Manager, Lifeline Northern Rivers

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