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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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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

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.

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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.

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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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