Experiencing strong emotions such as stress can be a very well-known trigger to set off an asthma attack. Depression and anxiety are also associated with a lack of asthma control.
And if you think about it, this isn’t all that surprising. Even for those who don’t actually suffer from asthma, when you get overly upset or excited, or any strong emotion really, your breathing tends to change and it’s the change in breathing more so than the actual emotion itself which will trigger the attack.
Many emotions such as anger, fear, excitement, laughter, crying, or yelling can change your breathing and this then causes your muscles to come tight and your breathing then increases.
Of course, excitement and laughter are not emotions you should feel discouraged from feeling, and you should talk with a medical professional if these positive emotions are asthmatic triggers.
However, some of the more negative emotions should try to be adapted. For example, trying to communicate issues without yelling, or trying to take deep breaths when upset. But one of the real main offenders of the emotions is stress.
Throughout this article, we will focus on how you can manage stress to try and avoid triggering an asthma attack.
What Is Asthma?
So first things first, what is asthma? It is a disease that affects the airways to your lungs. When you experience an asthma attack, the muscles that are around your airways get tighter which results in them becoming narrower.
Not only this but the lining of your airways begins to swell and mucus is produced which further restricts your airways and can make it very difficult to breathe.
Asthma is a chronic condition and you should always seek medical advice from a professional who can prescribe you inhalers to help alleviate some of the discomforts.
What Is Stress?
Stress is your body’s natural response to change. And it doesn’t particularly matter whether that change is good or bad, you’ll still tend to react to that said change.
This response lets your body and mind be aware that there is a potential threat or problem that will need to be avoided or confronted.
School, work, family, responsibilities, illnesses, and trauma can all be common causes of stress, but there are also many more.
The issue with stress is that it is unavoidable. You’ll never be able to walk throughout your life without experiencing it because life is full of change.
Some changes you may see coming and have a little time to prepare for, some can completely blindside you.
But stress can seriously impact your physical health, so it’s important to learn to manage it.
It can lead to stomach aches, headaches, and heart problems, and can be a trigger for asthma attacks.
How To Manage Stress
Since stress is unavoidable, we really just have to learn how to best manage it. The first thing to do is identify what is causing you to be stressed. Figuring out the problem can sometimes be half the battle.
- Ask For Help
Once you have a general idea of what is causing your stress, it’s then really important to try and find ways to reduce the stress.
Some problems that are really stressful may require some outside help if you are struggling to deal with the issues alone.
For example, stress that comes from grief is best managed by counseling.
‘A problem shared is a problem halved’ is a saying for a reason. Talking to someone about things that are upsetting you or stressing you out can help to reduce the negative emotions you’re feeling and help prevent a triggering asthma attack.
- Avoid Stressful Situations Where You Can
If it’s possible to avoid a situation that causes you stress, then by all means do this. Sometimes it can feel like this is running away, but that is not the case.
If something is constantly causing you emotional distress and there is a way to avoid this, you should definitely do so.
For example, if a toxic friend is constantly causing you stress, even after a few candid conversations, then it is fine to walk away from a situation that does not benefit you.
Sometimes you cannot fully avoid a situation, but you may be able to change aspects of the said situation in order to reduce stress.
For example, if you are finding yourself having asthma attacks because of stress due to work, speak to your manager about the issues, and try to delegate where appropriate. Don’t try to spread yourself too thin.
- Relaxation Exercises
Exercise is brilliant for many aspects of health, and reducing stress is no exception. Relaxation exercises are a great choice as they are super easy to do and are really effective at combatting negative thoughts.
Relaxation exercises focus on a combination of deep breathing and releasing muscle tension. If done regularly, perhaps as part of your morning routine, they can really help to reduce stress.
There are lots of options out there for relaxation exercises, including books and audiotapes. A quick search online will also bring up bountiful results.
- Get Enough Sleep
A lack of sleep is going to cause you to be stressed and cranky. Not only that but it also means that you won’t be able to cope with stress as well as usual either. If you are struggling to fall asleep at night try some of these tips:
- Create a bedtime routine and stick to it.
- Do not eat, read, watch tv, or go on your phone just before bed.
- Do not engage in strenuous activities just before bedtime.
- Do not drink caffeinated drinks before bed.
- Do not nap throughout the day
- Give Up Being A Perfectionist
Last but not least, stop trying to be completely perfect. This is putting way too much pressure on yourself which can cause great stress.
Stress overload will come from giving yourself too many responsibilities because you’re trying to do everything yourself.
Follow and modify these tips as needed to reduce stress overload:
- Share out responsibility
- Rotate the most difficult/unpleasent jobs
- Be clear and specific with deadlines
- Don’t micromanage others around you
Asthma attacks can be very serious and you do not want to be seriously ill due to stress. Stress is an unavoidable part of life, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be managed. Always remember that it’s okay to put yourself and your own health first.