Stress, panic attacks, fear and even excitement can send adrenaline levels through the roof, making your heart rate go into overdrive and leaving you unable to feel calm and relaxed. Often people are fearful of these episodes when the symptoms are merely due to negative events and their bodies "fight or flight" response. Learning to manage your pulse rate and bring down anxiety levels gives you more control over your feelings and responses to difficult situations.
Always seek the advice of a physician for any heart symptom to ensure it is not symptomatic of something more urgent.
Slow Your Breathing
Regulate your breathing to bring down your pulse rate, as advised by Earlham College in their advice for anger management. Recognize that heightened emotion, whether it's anger, stress or anxiety, can make you breathe shallowly and irregularly.
Take a deep breath in as you slowly count to four in your mind, allowing your abdomen to expand rather than raising your shoulders. Hold your breath for a count of four. Exhale for a count of four, emptying your lungs completely. Repeat.
Repeat the deep breath in for a count of four, holding for a count of four and emptying your lungs over a count of four. Concentrate on the counting and the rhythm of your breathing.
Continue this slow, rhythmic breathing and try to clear your mind of everything but the attention to your breathing. After five minutes you will feel calmer and your pulse will be slower. If you sense your pulse beginning to race again, go back to breathing slowly and concentrate on the in and out of your breath.
Blowing Away Stress
Take a deep breath to a count of four, taking in as much as much air as your lungs can hold and filling your abdomen rather than your chest. Hold for a count of four. Blow out all the air in your lungs through your mouth within one second, as though you are trying to blow away a ball in front of you.
Breathe in again, to your full lung capacity, hold for four, and blow it out again through your mouth. Feel the pressure of your ribs and muscles helping to expel the air.
Repeat the deep breaths and the forceful outbreaths. Imagine that you're breathing in peace and calm and breathing out stress, fear or anxiety. Your body will tell you when you can begin breathing peacefully and slowly again.