If you suffer from COPD, you are probably familiar with the feeling of breathlessness that accompanies COPD aggravation. This is a vicious cycle for COPD patients – panicking because you feel like you can’t breathe makes your muscles tighten up, which in turn makes it even more difficult to breathe, so it’s important to know how to relax and control anxiety if you have COPD. Here are some tips on lowering your stress and anxiety levels:
- Lowering sensory input, such as bright lights and noise can help you feel more relaxed.
- Distract yourself from the fear of breathlessness with a hobby or activity you enjoy
- Yoga or Tai Chi can help you learn relaxed breathing techniques
- Learn new breathing techniques such as the pursed lip breathing technique, which is recommended for people with COPD. To do this, the person breathes in through their nose and exhales slowly through pursed, almost closed lips. This causes the airways to stay open longer, increasing the flow of air, slowing the breathing rate and reducing how much the lungs need to work.
- Visualization exercises in which the person visualizes themselves in a peaceful, relaxing scene can reduce anxiety, and lower their heart rate and blood pressure.
These techniques can help you relax, reducing anxiety and episodes of breathlessness, but you still need to follow the plan you have worked out with your doctor regarding your medicine and when to seek medical attention.