Coping with Shortenss of Breath: Controlling Stress

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Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 257
   Posted 4/19/2007 12:46 PM (GMT -6)   
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.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 4/20/2007 10:13 AM (GMT -6)   


I am Kitt and your information that you posted here is right on the mark.

The scariest part of the lung diseases is the fear of suffocation. Your advice regarding keeping anxiety at bay is good.

The one thing I would add is if you are a family member or caretaker for someone with asthma etc. is to sit with them and talk them down from the anxiety. Reassure them you won't leave them alone and touch them, stroke their arm and keep your voice soft and calm.

This has worked for me many times when working with patients.

Again thank you for your good advice.



"A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book."
Irish Proverb


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