Stress-Induced Asthma: How to Reduce Anxiety and Symptoms

Quincy AdamAsthma Lifestyle, Asthma Natural Options, Natural Options

Asthma Woman Breathing
Lately, you’ve been experiencing asthma attacks frequently along with severe anxiety attacks. Why are your asthma and anxiety attacks occurring together?

It’s because any physical or mental stresses on your body worsen your asthma condition. While stress does not cause asthma, it can make asthma harder to control. If you know how to cope with stress, it can help reduce the frequency with which stress-induced asthma occurs. Here are a few tips to help you keep stress at bay.

Take an Adaptogenic Herb Daily

An adaptogenic herb is one that helps combat the adverse effects of stress. It provides your body with nutrients and medicinal properties that help your body and mind deal with stress better. It may sometimes even prevent stress from occurring. Some of the best adaptogenic herbs to take are:

  • American Ginseng Root
  • Asian Ginseng
  • Eleuthero Root (Siberian Ginseng)
  • Withania (Ashwagandha root from India)
  • Licorice

Taken on a regular basis, these herbs are known to reduce levels of cortisol – produced as a result of stress and which increases blood sugar and lowers the immune system. You will need to check with your doctor if you are taking other medications since they can interact with them.

Sip Calming Herbal Teas

Some of the best herbal, stress-relieving teas to sip throughout the day are:

  • Chamomile
  • Green tea with ginseng root
  • Licorice root
  • Peppermint
  • Passion flower
  • Lemon balm
  • Valerian root

These beverages will not only help calm your mind and body, but they can also open up your airways, relieve congestion and reduce inflammation. Herbal teas also contain antioxidants that help fight off free radical cells caused by stress that could trigger your stress-induced asthma attacks.

Meditation and Yoga

Some of the best ways to reduce stress-induced asthma are through meditation and yoga. Meditation helps to quiet your mind and yoga relieves physical stresses on your body.

Sometimes when you’re under stress and experiencing anxiety attacks, your back and chest muscles become tight, potentially triggering an asthma attack. Yoga can stretch out those muscles and allow you to breathe freely again. It is wise, however, to practice yoga with a professional yoga trainer if you’re new to it.

Get Some Fresh Air

When you are stressed out, your body can become physically drained, which could induce your asthma symptoms. It’s essential to clear your mind to prevent anxiety and stress-induced asthma attacks.

One of the best ways to clear the mind is to get away from the stressful situation by going outside. You could go for a walk through the woods and reconnect with nature, or simply grab a hot beverage and sit in the park and relax. It will help you to rejuvenate, feel better and breathe easier. Of course, you know your body and external triggers as well. If you are prone to asthma attacks brought on by cold air and other environmental factors, be safe and make smart choices.

Indulge in Dark Chocolate

One of the tastiest and most pleasurable ways to reduce stress and anxiety is by indulging in dark chocolate each day.

A study found that when stressed individuals ate just 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate a day for two weeks, they reduced both cortisol and their fight or flight hormones, catecholamines1.

Dark chocolate also contains a medicinal property that may help reduce inflammation2, and promotes blood and oxygen flow.3 It even contains antioxidants to support the immune system. All these properties may promote easier breathing.

Soothe the Suffering with Song and Breath

Have you ever heard of a ‘Singing for Breathing’ class? Patients are enjoying the benefits of learning how to sing correctly at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London. These classes teach patients how to relax their stomach muscles, and use their upper bodies to draw air in and out. Patients say they are breathing more easily. Also, the research trials that the hospital conducted confirm improvements in health.4

If you can’t get to a voice class, you can practice deep breathing exercises on your own in three simple steps:

  1. Pay attention to how you breathe – especially during anxious situations
  2. Breathe with your diaphragm, the muscles below your rib cage, rather than just from your lungs. You’ll feel breath all the way down to your belly.
  3. Practice for 10 or more minutes a day with long, controlled breaths. A suggestion is to count to three both while you inhale and then exhale, without pausing in between and so the breaths are the same length.3

1“Dark Chocolate Takes Bite out of Stress,” 13 November 2009, WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/news/20091113/dark-chocolate-takes-bite-out-of-stress.
2“Dark chocolate may lower inflammation,” UC Davis, http://nutrition.ucdavis.edu/content/infosheets/bite-chocolate.pdf.
3”Eating Chocolate can be Healthy!” Cleveland Clinic Wellness, http://www.clevelandclinicwellness.com/Promos/Pages/Chocolate.aspx#.
4“A new remedy for patients suffering from lung conditions: Take up singing!” 13 May 2013, Daily Mail, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2324098/A-new-remedy-patients-suffering-lung-conditions-Take-singing.html.
5“Are you breathing the right way?” May 2009, Reader’s Digest Best Health, http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/wellness/are-you-breathing-the-right-way. Accessed 22 January 2015.