When you have lung problems, it may be hard for you to breathe. Stress can cause shortness of breath. Learn to relax & control stress to prevent shortness of breath & avoid panic.
WHEN ANXIETY TAKES OVER: When you feel short of breath, your neck, shoulder & chest muscles tense. You become anxious & begin to breathe faster. Your breathing muscles tire & trap air in your lungs. Your chest may feel tight. Anxiety increases & you may start to panic.
STOP PANIC BEFORE IT STARTS: The key to controlling panic is to break the cycle before it starts. When you are becoming short of breath, sit, relax your arms & shoulders, & lean forward, resting your upper body on your forearms. Breathe in slowly & deeply, then exhale slowly & fully. Take at least twice as long to exhale as to inhale.
LEARN TO RELAX: Control stress by avoiding things that trigger stress & by relaxing when you start feeling tense. Find a quiet place & sit or lie in a comfortable position. Close your eyes & try the following:
Step 1: Picture yourself in an ideal place, doing something you enjoy. Stay in that place until you feel relaxed.
Step 2: Slowly tense, then relax, each part of your body. Start w/your toes & work up to your scalp. As you breathe in, tighten the muscles. Keep them tight for several seconds. Then relax as you breathe out.
Step 3: You an also relax by doing tai chi or yoga, praying, meditating, or listening to music or relaxation tapes.