Owning Your Courage

Last updated: June 2022

We all know the strangling fear of breathlessness. It knocks the wind out of us and leads us to believe that we're going to die.

Our minds become clogged with terrible thoughts. Everything is gloomy and just because it hasn’t happened yet, we strongly believe that it could happen this time.

Our minds can make us think the worst


A tangible response to something that is happening now, in the present. Your house is on fire, your kitchen is flooding, your power is out, and you have no canisters of supplemental oxygen.

These are things that should cause us to fear, and we all need fear because fear tells us when something is wrong.


On the other hand, anxiety is worrying about something that may or may not happen. It can be vague or imagined.

It is something that has roots in our past but is projected by us to the future. Once we allow anxiety to take hold, we lose all pleasure in doing brave things.

When our fear feels real

Future events feeling real

Fear and anxiety are real! Yet they are false in that anxiety plays tricks on us by manipulating our brain into believing everything will turn out bad for us.

We know that that is not going to happen, but we experience it as if it is happening.

Forget everything and run

A tough job for us. Running away from situations can increase our anxiety.

Behavior that may have served us in the past but is no longer valid. We actually have no place to run to, and that makes it hard to hide.

Face everything and rise

It takes courage to stand up to your anxiety and fear. It is hard to be courageous in our frail state but once you become the boss, it is very enlightening, and it can be done.

I know it can because I have done it.

Mastering your breathing

First, we must lower and relax our shoulders.  At first, it actually hurts but once you get the hang of it, your breathing will get easier and you will be using the proper muscles to breathe.

Learning to breathe is the second step. We believe that we can’t get a breath in, but in fact, the opposite is true.

COPD causes a loss of air exchange, and the fact is that you have not released your last breath and so there is no room for a new breath.

When you get short of breath, exhale long and slow, through pursed lips to expel all the used air from your lungs. Your last breath has done its job, so exhale it, slowly and continuously until you have no more to exhale.

You should not force the air and it should never hurt.

Then take a deep breath in through your nose, with your mouth closed. Take it deeper into the lungs and down into your diaphragm. Breathe deep and hold it for a few seconds, then exhale once more through pursed lips.

Once you can do this, you have mastered the breath, and you will become the boss of your breath. It will help you to breathe easier each time.

Be aware of the times when you are exerting yourself and holding your breath! We all do this more than we realize.

Always exhale with exertion and inhale as you recover.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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