The Connection Between Asthma, Mind, and Body

Attitude matters, especially when it comes to managing your asthma. In fact, the latest research reveals that your mind can be an important factor when it comes to coping with this chronic respiratory condition. Therefore, the more confident you are in handling your symptoms, the better able you may be to keep your asthma under control.

You can't stop genetics from making you prone to respiratory problems, but you can choose how you deal with them.  Researchers studying the mind-body connection believe that when you stay positive about your situation, you're more likely to have better asthma control and are more likely to take the proper steps needed to head off serious symptoms.

Many studies have supported this conclusion, including one released in 2006 by Hasbro Children's Research Center in Rhode Island. The scientists discovered that children with positive self-esteem were less likely to let asthma get in their way throughout the course of the day. They believe that this is because children with higher confidence and better coping skills made more time to take care of themselves, which is an important aspect of asthma control. These children also made a concerted effort to participate in school, sports, and social activities, and to get a good night's sleep-all of which are factors that can make a positive impact on asthma.

Understanding the Mind-Body Connection

This concept makes sense when you think about how asthma occurs. Asthma is an anti-inflammatory condition that is commonly rooted in physical changes that occur in the body, but the condition can also be triggered by emotions and stress, too.  So while your mood didn't cause your asthma, it can still magnify the symptoms and lead you to feel more stressed. The worse you feel, the more anxious you may get. The anxiety causes your body to release hormones that can make asthma worse, creating a cycle that's difficult to end.

What You Can Do to Control Asthma

If you're having trouble managing your stress, you may benefit from talking to a professional counselor who can help you develop effective coping methods and take important behavior modification steps. Engaging in regular exercise, participating in relaxation activities like yoga, and incorporating breathing techniques, can all improve your asthma and your overall health, too. Remember that it's also important to follow your asthma action plan and take your medication as needed in order to control your condition and feel your best.




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M Korenblat-Hanin "Strengthening asthma coping mechanisms." Allied Health Professional. American Academy of Allergies, Asthma and Immunology, n.d. Web. 13 March 2011.

"Positive thinking about asthma." HealthBeat. Health and Human Services (HHS), 31 March 2006. Web, 13 March 2011.