When we breathe in, our bodies use oxygen and create carbon dioxide as a waste product. We breathe out the carbon dioxide. When our breathing is relaxed, the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in our bodies is balanced, and our bodies function efficiently.
Now imagine anxious breathing- your breathing rate increases. When you take in more oxygen, but do not end up using the extra oxygen through movement such as exercise, the body does not produce any extra carbon dioxide. So, the carbon dioxide is being expelled faster than it is being produced! This means, the levels of oxygen to carbon dioxide in your body is no longer balanced. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood temporarily goes down and changes the PH of the blood. THIS change can lead one to feel sweaty, uneasy, tingly, and lightheaded.
This is temporary because when our breathing returns to normal, the undesirable symptoms of anxious breathing resolve. The levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide return to a balanced state. Therefore, I always say, “the breathe is your anchor.” When you learn to relax your breathing, you will ultimately learn how to feel better through your breath.