Living better with breathlessness
Updated: Jun 24
Breathlessness is something I have worked with for a long time now. Many of my clients live with breathlessness due to an ongoing medical condition such as COPD, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis or cancer.
Now Long-Covid has also brought about more instances of breathlessness in patients, who struggle to do the activities they once enjoyed, along with basic daily tasks.
Coping strategies for breathlessness
Did you know that there are actually lots of different coping strategies for breathlessness? The key is finding one that suits you. A strategy that works for one person may not be the right fit for you – so don’t be disheartened if you’ve tried some techniques before. There could still be something out there for you.
Taking an individual approach is essential to find relief from breathlessness. The bad news is it’s trial and error until you find the one that works best for you – but the good news is that with professional guidance, we can make that process smoother and less stressful.
Breathlessness affects everyone differently
Two of my clients provide the perfect example of how differently one technique can work in two people. One lady found that square breathing was her perfect strategy. The other client found this actually made her feel worse – but relaxed, mindful breathing helped her a lot. She found this easy to do, and very quickly regained control of her breathing whilst using this technique. Conversely, a client who finds it difficult to relax when feeling unwell may struggle with relaxed mindful breathing. So it really does depend on you and your personality, situation and preferences.
Breathlessness management techniques
There are many techniques that may help in the management of breathlessness. Some of the most common techniques include:
Square breathing: Breathing in and out on regular counts, using visualisation to slow down the breath, calm the mind and help you bring your breath under control.
Positioning: Adopting various positions sitting and standing to help get more air into the lungs.
Relaxed breathing: Breathing in a calm, rhythmic relaxed way, moving air into the base of the lungs, reducing breathlessness related to or exacerbated by stress or a chronic condition.
Mindful breathing: Paying attention to our breathing patterns and thoughts, adopting different types of breathing and focusing on the present moment using all five senses.
Thought stopping: Focusing on unhelpful or worrying thoughts that can make breathlessness worse and replacing them with more helpful, positive thoughts.
These are just a few of the strategies I teach my clients. Whilst the strategies may not take the breathlessness away completely, they can help in enabling you to feel in control of your breathlessness, and more importantly giving you back quality of life, so that you can do the things you want to do!
Are you ready to find the strategy that works for you?
You may also be interested in joining our Breathlessness Academy. Click HERE to find out more.