Stress and Asthma: What's the Link?

If you've been under a lot of stress lately, you may feel your asthma symptoms kicking in with increased frequency. The fact is that challenges at work and home can be difficult to manage even without any health conditions to complicate things, but when you suffer from asthma, you can find yourself feeling even more overwhelmed and leaving you out of breath more easily.

The Mind-Body Connection
When you have problems at work, have a fight with your spouse or face financial difficulties, studies show that the stress and anxiety you feel can trigger your asthma symptoms. The problem is as your symptoms get worse, this can cause your level of stress to increase, creating a vicious cycle that can be difficult to break. If you need to take steroids for your asthma, this can also cause mood swings, further contributing to a difficult situation.

Identify Your Stressors
When you feel unable to cope and as a result, unable to breathe, the experts recommend taking a mental time out from your situation to assess it with a clear head. Sometimes making a list of your problems can be the first step in finding ways to address them and get your life in order. If you have to do much to do in too little time, delegating tasks, asking family and friends for help and support, and implementing simple time management skills can help you steer back on the right track.

Use Relaxation Techniques
You can also practice some easy, yet surprisingly effective, relaxation techniques to help you stay calm and cool even in a heated situation. Taking a yoga class is a great way to gain control of your breathing and at the same time, allow your body and muscles to relax. You can also try a range of techniques at home, including breathing fully through your diaphragm, letting your muscles go, repeating soothing mantras inside your head and also visualizing relaxing images.

Live a Healthy Lifestyle
If you want to manage your stress level, and at the same time your asthma, it may also be time to make some important lifestyle changes that will have an impact on your health and your mental state. Here are some things that can you fight stress and help you feel your very best:

  • Start a regular exercise routine
  • Get a good night's sleep
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Go easy on sugar, caffeine and alcohol
  • Seek help from family, friends, colleagues and professionals when you need it
  • Take your asthma medications as directed
  • Follow your asthma management plan carefully

Safeguard Future Generations

While all of these steps can help keep your asthma in check, they can also be important to help expectant mothers protect the health of their babies, too. A recent study funded by the U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, found that children whose mothers experienced stress while pregnant were at increased risk of developing asthma and allergie