Finding the Strength

Last updated: August 2023

Change the story to change the outcome. The challenge is to change the outcome by changing the story you consciously tell your brain.

Because it is an organ of memory, your brain will repeat what it already knows, and how it responded to similar situations in the past will determine how it responds to similar situations in the future. This is essential, particularly for those who suffer from something such as COPD.

Practicing controlled breathing

You can learn to change the story's ending by sitting with a challenge for five minutes. Consider the possibility, understand it, and realize what a good outcome looks like.

When you concentrate on breathing intentionally and efficiently, you can change the ending of every short-of-breath episode. Practicing for five minutes several times daily will make your episodes more successful.

You may still get short of breath, but you can become short of breath without including panic.  Without panic, you may be able to recover faster and avoid potential incontinence issues.  

This mindfulness exercise may become our "go-to" if we practice it many times a day and make it a regular part of our routine. When we become short of breath, knowing how it will end gives us control over the entire episode.

Building breath control

It takes lots of work and a strong will to achieve calm. It is never easy to redirect your brain, but the benefits far outweigh the work it takes.

Knowing what to do and how your shortness of breath episodes will end is priceless. Once you are in control, the sky is the limit.

Having those around you know their part makes it easier for everyone. My husband knows not to talk to me but to put on the fan; if he chooses, he can rub my back. When he talks to me, he needs to use a calm voice and not expect an answer until I regain my breath.

My children watch what he does and do the same when he isn’t here. He may not pace in front of me or expect me to hurry the process.

Helpful steps to effectively manage breathlessness

As soon as you begin to feel an episode of shortness of breath coming on, it is the pinnacle time to decide if you want to use your energy to achieve stress or calm. The following steps can help you if you choose to stay calm.

  • Don’t do another thing until you are seated
  • Keep your back straight and lower your shoulders
  • Put your hands on your lap, palms up. This opens the lungs
  • The only thing you should be thinking of is regaining your breath
  • Close your eyes and concentrate on a positive outcome
  • Inhale through your nose and intentionally bring that breath to your belly
  • Hold for a few seconds, then exhale slowly and softly through pursed lips
  • Concentrate only on your breath and the glory of recovering it
  • Continue until you can in complete sentences

Do you think you have the strength to change your panic and anxiety outcomes?

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

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

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

Do you feel comfortable asking your doctor questions about your COPD?