When in pursuit of a dangerous criminal that may be armed and willing to do virtually anything to evade capture, police and specialized tactical teams can't risk letting their bodies fight or flight response take over their decision making capabilities. The loss of focus, shaking, and lack of ability to concentrate aren't just important to their own safety, but the safety of civilians, and even the perpetrator of the crime. To gain control over their bodies fear response and adrenaline even in the most extreme of circumstances, law enforcement and military training includes what is called "combat breathing", a tactical breathing technique for the quick relief of the physical and psychological effects of stress that can be used with amazing effectiveness by anyone facing stress, anxiety, or even panic attacks.
As anyone who has battled anxiety or a phobia is aware, the influx of adrenaline and cortisol into the blood and brain during high levels of anxiety can instantly and severely effect proper functioning and be incredibly uncomfortable and scary, the fear response itself often being mistaken as evidence that the individual is about to lose control. Once the reaction that unleashes the stress chemicals into the body has started, it is almost impossible to stop. Combat breathing was designed to help police and military personnel in rapidly gaining control over their stress reactions during extraordinary situations and is widely regarded as a fundamental aspect of successful training.
Preview of Control Your Anxiety While Driving with Combat Breathing - Page 2
Alexis Artwohl, PhD., one of America's most respected police psychologists, considers it such techniques so imperative to officer training, he was quoted as saying, "Police officers should be taught controlled breathing from DAY ONE in training to the point where it becomes so automatic they do it without thinking." Additionally, Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman, a former special forces soldier who taught psychology at West Point who developed the widely used and praised training resource "The Bullet-Proof Mind." has taught the breathing exercise and its positive impact on performance during high-speed pursuits for years.
Sergeant Charles Humes explained the basics of combat breathing as follows, "The breathing is done in cycles. Breathe in through your nose for a count of four; hold your breath for a count of four; exhale through your mouth for a count of four; hold your breath for a count of four, and then restart the cycle. Breath deeply and methodically - completely filling and emptying your lungs during each cycle. This simple technique will lower your blood pressure and arousal/stress level, and minimize the overwhelming side effects of an adrenaline dump."
When you're feeling anxiety, fear, or a panic attack while driving to the grocery store, when far from home, when socializing, or when doing anything else that brings you anxiety, take a tip from police and military personnel whose lives hang in the balance of their ability to control their stress response and practice combat breathing. This is also an excellent skill to teach children with anxiety disorders or phobias, so practice it with your child or enlist other advanced child anxiety treatment strategies discussed at http://www.AnxietyFreeChildren.com.