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Is My Chest Tightness Anxiety or the new virus?

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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Is My Chest Tightness Anxiety or the new virus?

Is My Chest Tightness Anxiety or the new virus?

https://www.thecut.com/2020/03/anxiety-or-coronavirus.html

thecut.com

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Key Ideas

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Stop And Breathe

Anxiety is typically experienced as worrying about a future or past event. But anxiety loses its grip when you clear your mind of worry and bring your awareness back to the present.

When a...

A Simple Breathing Technique
  • Sit in a comfortable position.
  • Close your eyes and inhale slowly through your nose.
  • Exhale deeply.
  • Continue to breathe deeply and fully. Allow your breath to be a guide to the present.
  • With each breath in, think to yourself “be” and with each breath out, focus on the word “present. ”
Figure Out What's Bothering You

The physical symptoms of panic and anxiety, such as trembling, chest pain, and rapid heartbeat, are more obvious than the reason you are anxious. But, to get to the root of your anxiety, you need to stop and think about your thoughts and feelings.

Writing all that bothers you or talking with a friend can help you understand your anxious feelings.

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A panic attack

The current pandemic is affecting the entire globe. As a result, many people may be experiencing panic attacks for the first time.

A panic attack happens suddenly, with short-lived disabl...

The body's response

A perceived threat may activate the body's physiological "fight or flight" response, similar to what your body would do if you're near a tiger. Your heart starts racing and pumping blood, so your muscles have the fuel to run or fight. 

Panic attacks are relatively common. One in four Americans will have at least one panic attack in their lives. But the pandemic seems to be causing many people to suffer panic attacks within a short time.

Panic attack symptoms

The tightening of the chest and breathing difficulties are often confused for symptoms of the new virus.

Panic attacks come on suddenly and typically last only 15 to 20 minutes, while symptoms of the virus emerge over a few days. With the virus, you will also have other symptoms, like a fever and a cough.

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Normal And Clinical Anxiety

Short-lived episodes of anxiety are normal and can actually enhance productivity. But if they last beyond truly stressful moments and seep into everyday situations, they can be a clinical proble...

Risk Factors For Anxiety
  • Being female (women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety than are men
  • Caving into societal pressures to be ‘nice’ or be a high achiever
  • Being a perfectionist
  • High reluctance to share feelings
  • Childhood trauma
  • Cumulative stress
  • Genetic predisposition
Tips For Treating Anxiety
  • Visit your primary care doctor. Your symptoms may be from another condition with similar symptoms.
  • Ensure your chosen mental health professional is well versed in cognitive behavioral therapy, which involves the active restructuring of anxious thoughts and behaviors.
  • Consider skipping the caffeine and other stimulants that may exacerbate anxiety.
  • Exercise. Research indicates that routine exercise wards off the development of panic-related disorders.
  • Remind yourself that it’s okay to be anxious—in fact, the more demand you put on yourself to not be anxious, the more stressed you become.
  • Recognize, identify and cope with your anxiety to stay in control.

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Times Of Anxiety

The virus outbreak has people stirred up in anxiety, with canceling of travel plans and events the world over. 

In this ongoing public health emergency, it is easy to overreact, as t...

Coping With Anxiety

Fear of the unknown, causing anxiety, can be helped by deep breaths or just a reminder that uncertainty is a part of life.

Practicing mindfulness (or meditation), focusing on the present moment, can relieve symptoms of anxiety.

Bad News And Social Media

Too much panic-inducing news can cause unnecessary alarm and anxiety. It is advisable to stay clear of fake news and implausible claims on social media.

At the same time, it is also important to know the essential updates, like the recommended social distancing and events being canceled.

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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

A health condition that affects an individual’s ability to breathe well, often associated with other conditions such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Symptoms include: wheezing, c...

Pursed lip breathing
  1. While keeping your mouth closed, take a deep breath in through your nose, counting to 2. The breath does not have to be deep. 
  2. Put your lips together as if you are starting to whistle or blow out candles on a birthday cake. This is known as “pursing” your lips.
  3. While continuing to keep your lips pursed, slowly breathe out by counting to 4. Don’t try to force the air out, but instead breathe out slowly through your mouth.
Pursed lip breathing benefits:
  • It’s been shown to reduce how hard a person has to work to breathe.
  • It helps release air trapped in the lungs.
  • It promotes relaxation.
  • It reduces shortness of breath.

Practice it 4 to 5 times per day, daily.

Pursed lip breathing is best for performing strenuous activities, such as climbing stairs.

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Breathing exercises

Breathing is at the core of ancient (and currently trendy) mindfulness practices, from yoga and tai chi to meditation.

However, studies suggest that breathing exercises alone, derived from...

Deep, controlled breathing

It involves filling the lungs to the max and goes by various names like belly or diaphragmatic breathing.

It has been linked to improved cognitive performance, lower stress levels, and lower blood pressure.

Breathing and yoga
Belief in the benefits of controlled breathing goes back centuries.

Central to ancient Hindu philosophy was prana, described as vital “airs” or “energies” flowing through the body. Stemming from that belief, yoga was built on pranayama or breath retention. 

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Use Aromatherapy

Whether they’re in oil form, incense, or a candle, scents like lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood can be very soothing.

Aromatherapy is thought to help activate certain receptors in your ...

Go For a Walk Or Do Yoga

Walking away from an anxiety inducing situation can be very effective. Taking some time to focus on your body and not your mind may help relieve your anxiety.

Write Down Your Thoughts

Writing down what’s making you anxious gets it out of your head and can make it less daunting.

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Worry

Worry is the cognitive part of anxiety, with it's repetitive and obsessive thought patterns in our mind. Worry is sometimes essential for us to solve problems or take action, provided we are not st...

Stress

Stress is a biological response(or a reaction) to external changes and forces beyond one's resources. Signs of stress include a rapid heart rate, shallow breath, and an adrenaline rush.


Acute stress or temporary stress is normal and even beneficial. Chronic stress is linked to health concerns like heart disease and a weakened immune system.


Ways to Handle Stress:

  • Exercise daily.
  • Focus your energy on what you can control.
  • Know that your stress response is unique to you.
Anxiety

Anxiety is the culmination of worry and stress. It is a state of body and mind which is stressed and worried for no apparent reason, like a response to a false alarm.

An anxiety disorder is an acute form of anxiety and a serious medical condition.


How to Handle Anxiety:

  • Curb your sugar, alcohol and caffeine consumption.
  • Calm yourself by deep breathing and refocusing on your body parts.
  • Distract yourself by listening to music or a little exercise.
Stress, worry and anxiety can be helped by regular exercise, a nutritious diet and an ample amount of sleep.

    “Mantras can be helpful for folks with anxiety in two ways: They can focus the mind, and they can provide counter-narratives to anxiety-provoking automatic thoughts.”

    Chantelle Doswell...

    Mantras Against Anxiety
    1. Try starting a phrase with “I am” followed by an adjective and repeat slowly, as a set of three. Ex: “I am at peace”.
    2. Remind yourself that nothing lasts forever by repeating "this too will pass" in rhythm with your breath.
    3. Fit the following affirmation to what you need in the moment: “I am _____, and I deserve every _____ thing.” Ex: “I am beautiful and I deserve every beauty-filled thing.”
    4. “It’s not about you.” is a mantra that helps with concerns about the opinions of others.
    5. “All is well.” If repeated several times reminds you hat things are going to be OK.
    6. Acknowledge the good things in your life during a moment of anxiety by repeating “thank you.” 
    7. Repeating “Calm down” to yourself with deep breathing exercises may be useful.
    8. You are lovable.” Is useful if you are feeling stressed or panicked over a loved one.
    9. “What can I see and experience today that will thrill and amaze me?” will refocus your mind on something positive rather than negative.
    On Anxiety

    Anxiety is a common emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure. If left untreated, anxiety can be crippling. It can lead to lightheadedness, nausea, headaches, stomach pains, panic attacks and more.

    Therapy, medication or a combination of the two are vital if anxiety is inhibiting your daily life. And for a quick fix, experts say relaxation techniques like mantras can help.