A'isha you're right - but it's not the breathing itself that creates the problem, it's NOT breathing out...

We end up breathing in rapidly but shallowly which means that there is an increased O2 to CO2 ratio, leading to hyperventilation shakes and tingliness.

Slowing the breathing down by focusing on breathing out (we ALWAYS breathe in!!!!) helps by normalising the CO2 and O2 levels. If this is really difficult, breathing in and out through cupped hands (easier to find than a paper bag!) can get things back into balance.

The other reason I suggest breathing out is that there is a normal physiological relaxation response to the out breath, which we can learn to use along with relaxing a stretched limb/limbs and a relaxing word to develop a very quick relaxation that helps regain control in a stressful situation.

Soooo - we're both right!

Breathing in too deeply can lead to hyperventilation, breathing out slowly brings on the relaxation response. Concentrating on the out breath helps regain control and slows the respiration rate, as well as using the already existing relaxation response.

I hope that helps!