Both strong emotions and stress can lead to symptoms of asthma. The emotions themselves aren’t the triggers; rather, when someone feels a strong emotion, their breathing pattern changes. Stress works in a similar way. It’s impossible to never experience stress or strong emotions, but there are ways to deal with these situations and make an asthma attack less likely.
What does it involve?
Learn to recognize the symptoms of stress. If you feel extra tired, irritable, or worried, you may be under more stress than usual.
Practice “mindful breathing.” Taking slow, deliberate breaths can help relax the muscles involved in breathing. Slowly breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Periodically hold a breath for seven seconds and then exhale for seven seconds.
Identify the major stressors in your life and take steps to reduce them. Similarly, identify thinking patterns that contribute to stress and work on changing them.
Get enough sleep and physical activity. Sleep deprivation can be a significant form of stress. Exercise can both reduce stress and help tire you out so you have less trouble sleeping.
Seek support from family members and friends. Let them know when you are having a hard time and suggest ways they can support you. Sometimes it helps just to talk with someone about your problems.
Make sure to keep managing your asthma by medication and any other aspects of your treatment plan. If this doesn’t seem to be adequately controlling your symptoms, see your doctor about changing your medication.
For more details about this treatment, visit:
Stress & Asthma — Cleveland Clinic
Strong Emotions, Stress and Depression Can Trigger Asthma — Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
Stress and Asthma in Children — The American Institute of Stress
Asthma and Stress — Asthma and Lung UK
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