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How to Stop Breathing Manually – 10 Things You Must Try!

You probably had a panic attack not so long ago and tried to calm your breathing. Now you are realizing it just never got back to being automatic. If you are subconsciously or consciously forcing your breathing, we understand how strenuous it might get.

So, how to stop breathing manually?

You should take your mind off of the topic of breathing altogether and try to distract yourself. Just stop excessive thinking about it. Meanwhile, engage in activities that require your attention and time. You will see your breathing has returned to being automatic again.

Did that pique your interest? We came up with 10 (and a bonus one) ways to get your manual breathing stopped. Read along to know more!

Table of Content

Manual Breathing? What Is That?

Some of you lucky fellas out there probably never have heard of manual breathing and wondering what that might be. So here’s a brief idea before starting.


Manual breathing means you are controlling your breathing. Basically, you are inhaling air into your lungs consciously and then putting the effort afterward to empty out your lungs to exhale.

It is quite exhausting and stressful to be breathing consciously if we are being honest. That is why it is important we find ways to breathe normally just like everyone does. .

Why Am I Breathing Manually?

Our breathing is a completely autonomic process. That means the respiratory center in our brain controls our breathing.

But there might be a few reasons you are breathing manually. Let’s take a look: 

Increased Consciousness

Sometimes many of us get aware of our breathing or think about it too much. And once we become conscious about our breathing pattern, we seem to start breathing manually.

Well, actually we do not do it manually or by ourselves. We know it is programmed to be done by our brain and lungs. But it surely seems like we are doing the work, right? And that is when the problems start.

Once we get too engrossed in our breathing or breathing pattern, it feels like if we do not put the effort in it our breathing might actually stop.

Which is totally not the case.


Another most commonly found reason, why we might start to breathe by ourselves, is because of anxiety. Yes, anxiety disorders and panic attacks will force you to have irregular breathing.


It might be either very fast (in most cases) or it might become slower than normal. In this sort of case, it is told  to take deep breaths in order to calm ourselves down. In more serious cases, to take anti-anxiety drugs that cause easier breathing.

But once we start commanding and counting our breaths to calm the nerves, it becomes difficult to get it automated again. 

Getting Influenced

It is very easy to lose control of our automatic breathing, really. Say you are someone who does not have any of the problems mentioned above and just reading along for curiosity. 

So reading about breathing might make you self-conscious about your own. And probably you have become aware of your breathing pattern and force inhaling exhaling already, right?

Yeah, it’s that easy to get swayed when it comes to our respiration process. Our brain surely works in mysterious ways!

Is It Normal to Be Conscious of Breathing?

Well, not really. Your breathing is supposed to come naturally. But we do understand at times that becomes quite the problem. Probably everyone has experienced and tried manual breathing at least once in their lives.

And for people with anxiety, OCD and PTSD this problem becomes more common than not. Trying to keep track of your breathing does not sound that bad, right? 

However, it does become a huge concern when you think your breathing will stop if you do not keep doing it. That fear leads to even more panic and anxiety attacks for some people. 

So the important thing now is to know how to stop trying to breathe manually. And how to get right back on our pre-scheduled train, yeah? 

So if you are someone who is bothered about breathing by yourself, you can try these tricks mentioned below to see if any of them works for you. 

How to Stop Breathing Manually?

So the big question is, how do I get my breathing automated again? If you are worrying your head about that, I would suggest you sit comfortably. And then go through this list of 10 things to do we came up with. However, it comes with a surprise! There’s a bonus one at the end.

Try Distracting Yourself

The simplest way out of this condition is to stop thinking regarding it. Distracting yourselves is the best bet in this case. 

Keep yourself busy with things that do not relate to your anxiety or panic attacks. Watch your favorite music video, learn a new recipe, try out a new dance routine. There are many doors open in front of you. You just need to enter into the right one for you. 

Think of Something Else

Well, trying not to think about breathing might backfire in some cases. Because you are still thinking about how not to think about it, right?

So you can try to contemplate over something else that doesn’t concern your breathing. For example, you have an assignment due tomorrow. Think about how you are gonna start your paper. Or figure out what to eat for dinner. Do some online shopping. 

Talk to Your Friends

If you are in a public setting when you feel like your breathing is forced, or you are pondering too much over it, follow the next best option.


Talk to your friends, engage in conversations. That will definitely take your mind off of the problem and you will realize you are not breathing manually anymore. It literally works like magic. Laugh with them, joke around a little bit. Maybe even start a heated debate! 

No matter what your topic is, keeping your mind away from thinking does the work for you!

Go For a Walk

Put on those earbuds, get your converses from your closet. It is time now to go for a walk. 

Listen to your favorite music meanwhile. Aside from relieving anxiety and keeping your body healthy, walking it out makes you happy too. 

While walking, your mind is fixed on the steps you take and the path you are taking. So that leaves very little scope to think about anything else at all. 

Try Doing Meditation

Meditating calms your mind and puts you at ease. Here you have to take deep breaths at first and let it all out slowly. It might seem counterintuitive to what we are preaching and feel like forceful breathing.

But eventually, when you are calm enough and your mind is off of your respiratory patterns, your breathing catches up automatically again. 

So, do try to include meditation, yoga, and other relaxing techniques in your to do list.

Busy Yourself With Unrelated Things

Like I have said before, you have got to divert your mind. Try to forget you have to inhale and exhale on your own at all.

Go grocery shopping, buy yourself some flowers. Bake a cookie or do your laundry. Basically do something that requires your attention. It should help you.

Hold Your Breath 

If none of the above worked for you, try doing this step. Take a deep breath first. Now exhale. Push all the oxygen in your lungs outside.

Now hold your breath in that position. Do not worry! Your breathing should kickstart on its own after like 3 seconds. And obviously, you do not have to force yourself this time. It would come naturally like it is supposed to.

Probably it will help you realize that you actually can breathe even if you do not make an effort. We really are programmed like that.

Watch Your Favorite Movie

This is just another distraction technique you can opt for. Surf the Netflix for your favorite movie or TV show and just enjoy your time.

This one is definitely going to work on making you forget about breathing at will. And the plus side is – you get to spend an amazing ‘me time’ as well! 

Put on Your Thinking Caps

Yes, try to be a bit creative if you wish to. You can practice your favorite dance choreography or start painting. Or just plainly do some maths to sidetrack your mind.

Might even indulge yourself in a new book too! Get creative with these ideas.

Face Your Fear

If nothing else worked (very unlikely and rare case), you still have a last resort. Face your problems. Accept the fact that you are breathing by force and that it necessarily does not have to be that way.

Probably confronting yourself in your mind will do the trick for you. All you have to do is believe in yourself. You breathe just fine when you are sleeping. You can do that while being awake too.

Consult a Psychiatrist

If you still feel like nothing helped you much, going to a therapist or psychiatrist will be a good approach. They will talk to you about the underlying panic and anxiety problems. 

When you both talk and come to a solution for the main problems, handling your automatic breathing will become easier than before.


Is it better to breathe manually?

Answer: Upright breathing is not detrimental to your health, rather it is just more proficient. When we exercise, our breathing is still automatic, but at times we might have to switch it to manual. It depends on the type of exercise we are doing.

What is the correct way to breathe?

Answer: The correct way to breathe is called Belly Breathing or horizontal breathing. What you should do is inhale using your belly. Your belly should jut outwards as you take in air. This way you will feel your lungs opening up. And this way of breathing draws oxygen all the way down to the bottom of your Lungs.

Is it bad to be a mouth breather?

Answer: Breathing through your mouth all the time, even when you are sleeping, can lead to problems. In children, mouth breathing can cause crooked teeth, facial deformities or poor growth. In adults, chronic mouth breathing can cause bad breath and gum disease. It can also worsen symptoms of other diseases.


Just stop worrying about how to stop breathing manually! Your manual breathing will stop on its own then. To get rid of manual breathing you just have to let your mind be diverted away from the topic itself. And the automatic breathing will resume on its own. 

We hope you found this guide somewhat useful and it could save you some breathing uncomfortableness.

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