Emotions and asthma

Find out why emotions can impact your asthma and how to manage this trigger

Why do emotions trigger asthma?

Strong emotions – like anger, fear, stress, and excitement – can trigger your asthma. So can emotional responses, like laughing and crying.

This is because your body’s response to different emotions changes the way that you breathe. When you’re feeling emotional, you might start to take fast and deep breaths. This is called hyperventilating and it can make your airways narrow, causing asthma symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, breathlessness, or a tight chest.

Are emotions affecting my asthma?

You might find that emotions do not affect your asthma – everybody’s triggers are different. If you think emotions are one of your asthma triggers, it’s a good idea to track your asthma symptoms.

You could write them down in a notebook or on your phone as they happen, or record them in the ‘weekly comments’ section of your peak flow diary.

Mick

It was useful to sit down and try and identify whether there was a stress or worry that was in the background. 

Five ways to manage your emotions

  1. Get emotional support. Everybody feels emotional from time to time. If you feel overwhelmed or down, talk to somebody you trust about how you feel.  
  2. Use a written asthma action plan, so that you know exactly what to do if your symptoms come on.
  3. Manage your asthma well. This means taking your preventer medicines as prescribed, even if you feel well.
  4. Always keep your reliever inhaler (usually blue) with you, especially in situations where you know you might feel emotional.
  5. Try breathing exercises. These might help to ease your asthma symptoms and help you feel more relaxed.

Get support

Call our Helpline for support with your condition. Get advice on your medicines, symptoms or travelling with a lung condition, or just call us to say hello.

Did you find this information useful?

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