Got Asthma? Stress Less and Breathe Freely

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Has the spring brought you more than warm weather?  Are you one of the millions of Americans who cope with breathing problems when the season changes?  How can you honor your breath and feel more comfortable in your body to get ready for all of the fun that spring and summer will bring?

According to the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology, 1 in 12 people today has asthma.  As a practitioner and a mother, I have seen the effects of this condition on people’s lives.  How about you?  Do you deal with asthma or have someone close to you with this condition?  Just the simplest thing such as forgetting to pocket your inhaler while visiting a friend can mean a possible trip to the emergency room if your asthma gets triggered. And the fear that comes with being unable to take a full breath is well known by people using a daily inhaler.

So what does this have to do with stress?  Well, there is a building body of research that is dealing with stressors and our immune system.  The researchers are discovering that all sorts of stress, including emotional stress may affect asthma in general or may cause someone to have what is called an asthma exaccerbation (worsening of the condition).

This is both good and bad news.  The bad news is that we all live with stressors: the job, family illnesses and drama, sudden changes in our lives, or just plain stuff that you are living with and don’t like.

The good news is that you have some control over breathing easier and feeling better in general:

Start with a visit to your PCP – get information on how you are doing right now, ask for a protocol for managing your asthma medicines AND get a prescription for a peak flow meter so that you can monitor yourself as needed.

Listen to your body! I can’t emphasize this enough. Learn the early signals that your body is sending you indicating that your breathing is worsening – that tightness, or reduced energy level means it ‘s time to check a peak flow level (which is how to make sure the problem is the breath and not something else).

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Do you smoke?  Uh oh, you already know what smoking does when you are having a problem with your asthma.  Get some help to quit.

Check into what you are eating.  Respiratory problems are often associated with oxidative stress.  Add more antioxidant foods to your plate such as blueberries and leafy greens. Fill your plate with a rainbow of color!

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Incorporate more regular movement into your day:  think of ways to move more and sit less and consider movement such as gentle or mindful yoga to help you relax, balanced by brisk walks to keep you breathing more deeply and regularly.

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Develop friendships that support you in a positive way – say “no” to hanging out with complainers, whiners, and people who drain your energy level. Mutually supportive and fun relationships will help you unwind.

Take time to sit quietly, tap into your spiritual support, journal, listen to music or whatever alone time helps you to find peace.

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Track your symptoms with the above activities and see what seems to have the most impact for you.

Our breath is the very heart of our being.  Treat it with kindness and respect.

Think some of these tips would work for you, but having trouble making them part of your life?  Tired of asthma ruling your time?  I can help you take control of your breathing, using the tools that make the most sense to you.  I can help you feel more comfortable in your body, have more energy to do the things you need to do, and relegate your asthma to a smaller space in your life. You can embrace this beautiful season and do all of the fun activities that you enjoy without worry!  What are you waiting for? Drop me an email!

Wishing you the best,

Lisa

For more helpful information, visit the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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