Changing your thoughts: Dealing with COPD, panic and anxiety

2 Min Read

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a condition that can significantly impact an individual's quality of life, and it is not uncommon for people with COPD to experience feelings of panic and anxiety. These emotions can be particularly intense during flare-ups or in stressful situations, and they can have a significant impact on an individual's overall health. If you are living with COPD and are struggling with panic and anxiety, there are a number of strategies that you can try to manage and reduce these emotions.

Breathing techniques

One effective way to manage and reduce panic and anxiety is by practicing deep breathing techniques. Deep breathing helps to calm the mind and relax the body, and there are a number of different techniques that can be used. Belly breathing, for example, involves taking deep breaths in through the nose, filling the stomach with air, and then exhaling slowly through the mouth. The 4-7-8 breathing technique involves exhaling completely, then taking a deep breath in through the nose while counting to four, holding the breath for a count of seven, and exhaling slowly through the mouth for a count of eight. It may take some time to find the deep breathing technique that works best for you, but with practice, it can become a powerful tool for managing panic and anxiety.

Physical Activity

Another strategy for managing and reducing panic and anxiety is to engage in physical activity. Exercise has been shown to reduce stress and improve mental health, and it can be as simple as going for a walk or participating in a low-impact exercise like yoga. It's important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise routine, especially if you have COPD, to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for your specific needs.

Support network

Having a supportive network of loved ones can also be incredibly helpful when it comes to managing and reducing panic and anxiety. Whether it's friends, family, or a support group, having people to lean on and confide in can make a big difference. If you are struggling with panic and anxiety, don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help. It can be difficult to ask for support, but your loved ones care about you and want to help.

Professional Help

For some individuals with COPD, seeking professional help such as therapy or medication may be necessary. A mental health professional can provide strategies and techniques for managing and reducing panic and anxiety, and in some cases, medication may be necessary to alleviate symptoms. Don't be afraid to seek help if you feel like you are struggling to manage your panic and anxiety on your own. It takes courage to ask for help, but it is a positive step towards improving your overall well-being.


It's important to remember that everyone is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. It may take some trial and error to find the strategies that work best for you, but it's important to keep trying and to not give up. COPD can be a challenging condition to live with, but by managing and reducing panic and anxiety, you can improve your quality of life and overall health. It's also important to have patience with yourself. Changing longstanding habits and coping mechanisms can take time, and it's important to be kind to yourself and not to get discouraged if progress is slow. With perseverance and a willingness to try new things, you can find ways to manage and reduce your panic and anxiety.

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