/ Asthma / Asthma Triggers / Emotions, Stress, and Depression

Emotions, Stress, and Depression

Strong emotions and stress are well known triggers of asthma. There is evidence of a link between asthma, anxiety, and depression, though the outcomes are sometimes not consistent. Anxiety and depression may be associated with poor asthma control.

Feeling and expressing strong emotions may cause asthma symptoms if you have asthma. When you feel strong emotions, your breathing changes – even if you don’t have asthma. It is not the emotion itself that causes the asthma symptoms. Instead, your breathing changes during strong emotions. This causes muscles to tighten up or your breathing rate to increase.

Some examples of strong emotions that can trigger asthma symptoms are:

  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Excitement
  • Laughter
  • Yelling
  • Crying

Laughing is part of the joy of life and should not be avoided because of asthma. If laughter is an asthma trigger for you, talk with your health care provider about your asthma treatment.

Find ways to stay calm and express yourself without yelling. Remember to breathe deeply and slowly when feeling stressed, upset, or angry.

Stress and anxiety can trigger asthma symptoms. By properly managing your stress, you can reduce your risk of having a stress-induced asthma attack or episode. Studies show that mindful breathing and observation can reduce stress and enhance overall health.

Two Tips for Stress Reduction

Closed Accordion
Mindful Breathing
  1. Start by breathing in and out slowly.
  2. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, letting your breath flow easily.
  3. Try inhaling for 7 seconds, holding your breath for 7 seconds and letting your breath out for 7 seconds.
  4. While focusing on your breathing, try to let go of other thoughts and just be in the moment.
  5. Try doing this for three rounds.
  1. Pick an object from nature that’s around you.
  2. Focus on watching it for a minute or two.
  3. This could be a tree, insect or even the clouds or the moon.
  4. Don’t do anything except notice the thing you are looking at.
  5. Look at it as if you are seeing it for the first time.
  6. Just relax into this observation for as long as your focus allows.

Medical Review August 2018.

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