Bearded man holds his breath in anticipation and is turning blue

Release Anxiety in a Breath

Do you feel the fear build up before you have to speak to an audience? I accidentally found a way that works for me when anxiety is building and I think it might work for others. It is simple and doesn’t require any practice to be effective. The best part? you get to channel your inner child. I want you to hold your breath.

Hold and Release

Holding your breath is the key, but not the moment you’ll gain relief. Instead, it is the moment when you breathe out. While exhaling you release the anxiety along with the air.  Pretty simple, right?

To make this work, you need to hold your breath until it is uncomfortable. You don’t need, or probably want, to go full on temper tantrum. You just want to reach the point where your body is saying, I really need to exhale. There will be an impulse quite early, when you would normally breath out. Hold past that point; the urge will disappear for a while then start building. Once the air really wants to get out, let it go and let your anxiety go too.

You don’t need to breath deeply. You don’t need to puff your cheeks or wait til you are blue, just til the discomfort builds. Try different levels of discomfort; I’ve found for myself it doesn’t have to be highly uncomfortable to work. I actually found this by accident while walking to a meeting, so it is highly flexible.  You should be able to do this with barely anyone noticing, though your exhale might be a bit stronger than normal. Instead of going to extremes, simply repeat if you need a stronger dosage.

It’s been working for me, but I haven’t found it anywhere else. The standard breath deep thing never worked me, so I’m quite excited to hear if this works for others. Let us know on social media how it works for you.

Founder/CEO at Virtual Orator

Dr. Blom is a long time researcher in the VR field. He is the founder of Virtual Human Technologies, which applies VR and avatar technologies to human problems and helping better understand people. Virtual Orator exists largely because Dr. Blom wishes he had had such a tool instead of the ‘trail by fire’ he went through learning to speak in public.


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