I have suffered from shallow breathing my whole life-Unable to sustain my breath during long exercise and unable to efficiently breathe through my nose. however, this has rarely been much of a problem until a week ago. After my 30-day shred workout programme was coming to an end.
I found my self-struggling to breathe, gasping for breath and this went on for a lot longer than normal.
What asthma ‘shallow lung’ feels like
You will feel as though your lungs aren’t as ‘stretchy’ as they should be.
In my own experience, I wrote “My lungs felt like a tight balloon and the more breaths I took the less oxygen it felt was going down. It was slowly restricting my lungs from expanding.” When I am suffering from ‘shallow lung’ I feel as though I have to breathe through my mouth, it takes huge breathes to feel my lungs fill up to (what feels like – bursting).
It has progressively worsened over recently weeks and I started being unable to talk to my family, I had headaches, I was unable to sleep, my appetite was much smaller, I felt lost and was suffering with;
- Chest Pain
- Leg/Extremity Weakness
- A palpitating hear beat
What is it?
You won’t believe it but.. It’s actually caused by having ‘too much’ oxygen. It’s called ‘hyperventilation’.
When you become conscious of your breathing, panicked or are taking too much oxygen in you can sometimes be tricked into thinking you are aren’t getting a full breath. It can feel like you’re not getting enough oxygen (your pain tells you it’s the oxygen) so, naturally, you try to take deeper breaths.
Hyperventilation isn’t helped by deep breathing (to overcome this ‘lack of oxygen’ feeling) as the more breaths you take the less your body is absorbing so, you can make your body feel like it needs more air, causing you to try to breathe in deeper. A vicious circle, however, because the problem is caused by an over-abundance of oxygen and not enough CO2. Luckily you can overcome your hyperventilation easily.
Remember those scenes where a stressed person is on the floor with a brown paper bag? – That’s to get more co2 into the lungs.
I have been fit now for 2 years by regularly exercising and regulating my diet with fresh fruit and veg. Honestly? I love it! So when this anxiety kicked in I thought I was physically unable to exercise, my whole world was changed and my routine was ruined. It was triggered so easily.
- Stressful Conversation
- Meeting New People
- Going to new places
- Doing something, not in routine
- Night-time (perhaps worrying about not completing daily tasks)
- Light exercise/ inc weights
- Greasy Foods
How to cope with your anxiety attacks
You need to go against your instincts. You actually need to take smaller and slower breaths, it can be hard to do when you’re in a panic-attack because of the lightheartedness. So, if you struggle to do so, try the following:
- Breathe in really slowly through your nose. This should take about 5 seconds.
- Hold for a few seconds – which will give you time to absorb the oxygen and CO2
- Breathe out really slowly through pursed lips as though you’re whistling. This should take anywhere from 6 to 8 seconds.
It is getting easier now I know how to control it. I can sit down and breath as normally as possible, trying to ignore what is happening to my body. Somethings can be stressful every day, even social media – Here I explain the need to switch off from social media every now and then.
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