Deep breathing works better when it's done slowly. Slow your breaths down by counting slowly to four as you inhale and again as you exhale. To slow your breaths even more, hold for an additional count of four between in and out breaths.
Deep breathing is a great way to trigger your body's relaxation response, but it can take practice to do effectively. Try putting one hand on your chest and the other hand on your stomach and take a deep breath. Which hand rises when you breathe in? Most people find that the hand on their chest rises. Chest breathing is not the best way to relax. To deep breathe for relaxation, breathe so that the hand on your stomach rises and falls with each breath. This is also known as belly-breathing or diaphragmatic breathing.
People often "forget" to breathe when the are stressed or upset; they hold their breaths or breathe shallowly, reducing their blood-oxygen level. This can increase feelings of anxiety and tension and make it more difficult to manage the situation effectively. Next time you're faced with a stressful or upsetting situation, check to make sure you're not "forgetting" to breathe.
Anxiety makes us want to avoid things, but avoiding them makes us more anxious. Instead of feeding your fears, try taking small steps toward facing them.