Kendall Jenner’s life is filled with Vogue cover shoots, red carpet appearances, and tropical getaways—but underneath the glitz and glam, she’s been coping with anxiety, a mental health issue that affects 40 million adults in the United States.
“Anxiety was a huge hurdle for me to deal with this past year (and security concerns didn’t help), but I think I’m finally learning how to cope,” the 21-year-old model recently wrote on her app. In a separate post, she went into greater detail about a panic attack: “I once had a really bad attack on a plane and just had to ride it out,” she wrote. “I felt my heart beating a million miles an hour and I even went a little numb.”
Jenner goes on to say that she tries to “prevent anxiety attacks by bringing my mind somewhere else.” The key: breathing exercises.
Doing breathing exercises is an expert-recommended natural remedy for anxiety that has been proven to work. When someone’s keyed up, they start taking quicker, more shallow breaths, which increases the body’s stress response even more, explained Patricia Gerbarg, MD, assistant clinical professor in psychiatry at New York Medical College, in a previous interview with Health. Slowing breathing to about five inhales and exhales per minute helps quiet anxiety fast, she said.
For a more structured approach to this calm-down technique, try the 4-7-8 breath, which was developed by integrative medicine pioneer Andrew Weil, MD: Exhale completely through your mouth, then inhale through your nose and count to four. Hold your breath for seven seconds, and let it out through your mouth for a count of eight.
Research shows that taking a breath can also help improve concentration, increase your pain threshold, make your workouts more effective, and help you fall asleep faster. Read up on the other ways breathing right can improve your life, and take a deep breath in…and out.