Exercise and other physical activities are phenomenal ways of staying healthy and most of all increasing lung function when you are a patient suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Staying active is something your doctor will highly recommend throughout your treatment process, but what you might not know is stress can be directly attributed to increased breathlessness and other COPD symptoms. So though it is important to stay active, it is also important that you sit down to relax and regather yourself from all the stresses of COPD and your daily life occasionally throughout your day.
How to Alleviate Stress with COPD
So sit back and relax to avoid further exacerbating your breathlessness with these easy to do tranquil mind activities:
- Meditation: You can do this sitting upright or even laying down on your back, choose whatever position you are the most comfortable in. Now close your eyes and focus on a specific thought that provides you with calmness and serenity, then place your hand on your stomach to better control your breathing rate. If at any point you become distracted don't worry, just simply restart from the beginning and focus on a specific thought slowly letting your mind ease into relaxation. An exceptional way to induce relaxing thoughts is to play soothing nature sounds on a faint volume in the background, the addition of music can often guide your stressed mind into serenity.
- Visualize Your Oasis: Every single night when you go to sleep you dream, whether you're on a beach in the Bahamas or hiking Mt. Everest, the simple fact that our brains have the power to create these fictional scenarios should show you that you can use that power to relax! The human bodies most powerful muscle is the brain, so sit back and close your eyes and let your imagination run free. The best way to do this is lay down on your back and close your eyes, now imagine yourself floating in the ocean, sitting atop a beautiful mountain, or whatever scene sooth's and calms your mind. Think of this as your happy place and just imagining and thinking about that will relax your mind and body.
- Relax One Muscle at a Time: This is known as progressive muscle relaxation and it could be the key to relieving you of your constant stress. This is done by starting at your face progressively heading down to your feet. Simply tense each muscle in your face progressively heading towards your feet, by simply constantly tensing and relaxing each muscle you are actually releasing tension in muscles you were unaware of that held tension.
Exercising has numerous beneficial factors in the treatment for COPD and your doctor will urge your to get up and move more, however it is also equally important that you relive yourself of stress and clear your mind. Using these tranquil relaxation techniques you will be able to relieve the additional stress that COPD has brought upon you, which is both good for the mind as well as helping reduce the possibility of an exacerbation of breathlessness or other COPD symptoms. Combining breathing exercises with stress management and supplemental oxygen, will ultimately help you live the highest quality of life with COPD.+Caleb Umstead