Edmonds, Washington, 8th August 2022, ZEXPRWIRE, Mental Health Expert, Best-Selling Author, Founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE, and Pioneer of Whole Person Care Dr. Gregory Jantz launches new podcast Hope & Possibility Podcast in which he discusses topics about today’s most prevalent mental health challenges.
Each episode discusses deep and meaningful topics about today’s most prevalent mental health challenges – anxiety, depression, eating disorders, PTSD, and more.
He shares tips and techniques one can use every day to help improve their mental health.
In a recent podcast episode he explains, ‘How Shortness of Breath is a Symptom of Anxiety.’
Dr. Gregory Jantz discussed the correlation between shortness of breath and anxiety. He explained that when people have anxiety it can become difficult to breathe because their body is sending more oxygen to the brain in order to keep them alert in stressful situations. But Dr. Jantz emphasized that shortness of breath is not only a symptom of anxiety but also of other diseases. Thus, he wants to educate people about this symptom.
According to Dr. Jantz, shortness of breath is often a result of the body’s fight-or-flight response. When people are anxious, their bodies go into survival mode and send more oxygen to the brain. This can cause difficulty breathing and shortness of breath. Some of the common signs of shortness of breath are chest tightening, feeling like one needs “more” air or breathing more quickly to get enough air, dizziness, feeling a weight on the chest, and feeling like one can’t take a full breath. Shortness of breath can be excruciating, but when anxiety-related, it is typically not harmful.
Hyperventilating is another word connected to shortness of breath. But Dr. Jantz wants people to understand that shortness of breath is not the same as hyperventilating. When a person hyperventilates, they take in more air than their body is using, which causes a decrease in carbon dioxide levels. This can lead to tingling in the extremities, lightheadedness, and fainting. Shortness of breath, on the other hand, is a feeling of not being able to get enough air.
It is important to know whether the shortness of breath one is experiencing is caused by anxiety or other health problems. Many people who have shortness of breath due to anxiety also have other symptoms such as excessive worry or fear, worries that are disproportionate to the triggering event, feeling restless or wound up, muscle tension, sleeping problems, and fatigue.
In contrast, shortness of breath can also be caused by strenuous exercise, altitude changes, asthma or allergies, cold/Flu, COVID-19, poor air quality, lung disease, obesity, tuberculosis, extreme temperatures, heart disease, tight clothes, and carbon monoxide exposure. There are many potential causes of shortness of breath, so it is important to see a doctor to rule out other possibilities.
If shortness of breath is due to anxiety, there are still things that can be done to ease the symptoms. Dr. Jantz recommends some tips on preventing shortness of breath from anxiety:
- Get Regular Exercise
This will help to reduce the overall anxiety and make it easier to cope with shortness of breath when it does happen. As Dr. Jantz mentioned in his blogs, exercise has many benefits for mental health. If someone doesn’t like exercising, they can find fun ways to move their body such as dancing or going on a brisk walk.
- Get Plenty of Restful Sleep
It is also important to get plenty of restful sleep. When people are tired, their bodies are more vulnerable to anxiety and stress. Ensure to keep a regular sleep schedule and create a relaxing bedtime routine.
- Staying Connected with People
Staying connected with people close to an individual is another way to reduce shortness of breath from anxiety. When one feels supported, their bodies tend to relax. So, one must reach out to family and friends when feeling anxious. It is imperative to surround oneself with positive people who will understand and help through tough times.
- Know the Triggers
More importantly, one should know their triggers. Dr. Jantz suggests that if shortness of breath is related to anxiety, it is important to understand what situations or thoughts trigger the anxiety. Once an individual knows their triggers, they can avoid them or be prepared with coping mechanisms.
If shortness of breath from anxiety is severe or interfering with daily life, consider seeking professional help. A therapist can help one understand and manage anxiety.
How to Manage Anxiety?
In his podcast Dr. Jantz discusses recommendations on how to manage anxiety.
First, focus on breathing. Try to take deep, slow breaths from the stomach or what is called diaphragmatic or belly breathing. Find a comfortable sitting or lying down position to practice deep breathing. Place one hand on the chest and the other on the lower belly. Close the eyes; otherwise, gaze softly. Then, take a long deep breath through the nose. Instead of breathing into the chest, where one may feel restricted, breathe instead into the tummy. The hand on the stomach should rise. The hand on the chest shouldn’t go much higher. Exhale slowly through the mouth as the lower belly fills with air. One might find it soothing to make a “whooshing” sound as they breathe out. Remove all the air from the stomach by squeezing the abdomen; the hand on the stomach should fall.
- Dr. Jantz has a more structured approach to deep breathing. He calls this the 4-7-8 technique.
- Pursed lip-breathing is another helpful way to ease shortness of breath from anxiety.
- Dr. Jantz also recommends trying progressive muscle relaxation.
- The 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique is another way to ease shortness of breath from anxiety.
- Lastly, meditation can help ease shortness of breath from anxiety.
Furthermore, Dr. Gregory Jantz suggests in his podcast: If shortness of breath from anxiety is severe or interfering with your daily life, consider seeking professional help. A therapist can help you understand and manage your anxiety.
There is HOPE! Visit this link to listen and subscribe.to Dr. Gregory Jantz’s Hope & Possibility Podcast: https://apple.co/3Jbmmda
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Boston New Times journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.