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Stress and Asthma

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How to Manage Stress With Asthma continued...

Seek Support. Life is tough sometimes and support from friends and family members is important. In fact, social support is the single most important cushion/shield against stress. Here are some tips you can offer to family or friends when they ask how they can help. Family and friends can do the following:

  1. Help you remain as active and independent as possible.
  2. Provide emotional support.
  3. Help with household chores and with grocery shopping and other errands as necessary.
  4. Learn what they can about your condition and prescribed treatment by attending doctors' appointments with you.
  5. Provide encouragement and help you follow your prescribed asthma treatment plan.

Practice Relaxation Exercises. Relaxation exercises combine deep breathing, releasing of muscle tension, and clearing of negative thoughts. If you practice these exercises regularly, you can use relaxation exercises when needed to lessen the negative effects of stress. Relaxation exercises include diaphragmatic and pursed lip breathing, imagery, repetitive phrases (repeating a phrase that triggers a physical relaxation, such as "relax and let go"), and progressive muscle relaxation. Many commercial CDs and books that teach these exercises are available.

Relaxation Exercises to Manage Stress With Asthma

A 2-minute Relaxation Exercise. Concentrate your thoughts on yourself and your breathing. Take a few deep breaths, exhaling slowly. Mentally scan your body. Notice areas that feel tense or cramped. Quickly loosen up these areas. Let go of as much tension as you can. Rotate your head in a smooth, circular motion once or twice. (Stop any movements that cause pain.) Roll your shoulders forward and backward several times. Let all of your muscles completely relax. Recall a pleasant thought for a few seconds. Take another deep breath and exhale slowly. You should feel more relaxed.

Mind Relaxation Exercises. Close your eyes. Breathe normally through your nose. As you exhale, silently say to yourself the word "one," a short word such as "peaceful," or a short phrase such as "I feel quiet" or "I'm safe." Continue for 10 minutes. If your mind wanders, gently remind yourself to think about your breathing and your chosen word or phrase. Let your breathing become slow and steady.

Deep Breathing Relaxation. Imagine a spot just below your navel. Breathe into that spot and fill your abdomen with air. Let the air fill you from the abdomen up, and then let it out, similar to deflating a balloon. With every long, slow breath out, you should feel more relaxed.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on March 27, 2014
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