Is My Chest Tightness Anxiety or the new virus? - Deepstash

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Symptoms of the new virus

Common symptoms: chest tightness and shortness of breath. But these are also common symptoms of anxiety.

People with anxiety may continue to worry that they are getting sick, even if they don't have a fever or a cough. But there are ways to distinguish between anxiety chest tightness and the new virus chest tightness and a way to manage the former.

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Anxiety chest tightness

If you are experiencing chest tightness or shortness of breath now, ask yourself first:

  • Are you someone with a history of anxiety, especially if it is tied to health concerns?
  • If yes, did your symptoms show up while reading news about the virus?
  • Do you find it hard to focus on other things?

Paying too much attention is called hypervigilance and body scanning. It is associated with anxiety.

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Anxiety causes shortness of breath

The brain is very powerful. We can see a positive pregnancy test and immediately develop morning sickness. Anxious people can read about the shortness of breath and instantly develop it.

However, shortness of breath is also tied to the way anxious people breathe. Anxious people breathe fast and too shallow. They blow off too much CO2, which makes them feel dizzy and makes their chest feel tight.

To alleviate the symptoms, breathe in slowly through your nose, count to four seconds, and then breathe out slowly through pursed lips. It will normalize your CO2 levels.

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Anxiety-related chest tightness

There are many ways we can slow down a rapid heart rate or quickened breathing.

  • Focus on something in your environment or count backward out loud from 100 by threes. It lets you really focus and be in the moment.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation. Tense and then release parts of the body one by one. Do this for a few minutes each morning, midday, and night.

If you practice these techniques and you improve, it's a good sign that it was anxiety.

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Worried that you're really sick

It is possible to be anxious and have a physical illness.

  • If your chest tightness goes away for periods of time - like while you're watching a funny show - it's less worrying.
  • If you are seriously ill, these distraction techniques are not going to reduce your symptoms. If you're experiencing more than one symptom of  the new virus, you might want to call your doctor.

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