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Unable to get a full breath from anxiety/fatigue?
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Unable to get a full breath from anxiety/fatigue?

The title doesn't quite describe the question I'm trying to ask... I've had this problem with my breathing since I was about 15.  It's nothing asthma related, because I've been tested for that, and I have even used an inhaler when I thought I needed it, but it never worked.  I get this feeling sometimes where I need to take in a big breath, and I do, but it feels like my lungs don't expand to full capacity.  It's not shortness of breath, per say, but it causes a tiny bit of tightness in my chest.  However, I think that might be psychological, considering I want to take this big breath, but I can't get a fully satisfying one.

I've tried to pay attention to when I have this problem, and it seems to be when I don't get a whole lot of sleep, I'm in a stressful situation, or I'm nervous.  Most often, I think it's from tiredness, but right now, I'm a little nervous about classes starting again, and I'm having trouble getting that full breath, and I'm even feeling a bit shaky, which happens from time to time.  I've never had a doctor mention this, but could it be a mild form of anxiety?  I don't get the shakes every time I'm a tiny bit short of breath, but it does happen some times.  

Another thing for me to mention is that my father has said that he's had the same problem with his breathing as well.  It can get exhausting when I repeatedly try and take a breath and can't get a full one.  

Am I extremely off base here?  It's not anything I can't live with and be fine, but it's frustrating having no explanation for why I get this way sometimes.  If it is anxiety, should I try medication?  I am already on Wellbutrin for depression.

Thanks in advance!
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Avatar_f_tn
Since you've had this "condition" checked out by your doctor, (who no doubt also looked for other things besides asthma) and you were given a clean bill of health, my humble opinion is that it IS based more on anxiety than an organic issue.........especially since you say you notice this more when you're tired, nervous or stressed. I think you have become a bit fixated on this deep breath and that is a sure fire way for it not to happen. Our bodies will spontanieously take very deep breaths for reasons I don't understand, but they sure feel good. As does a really good yawn. But if we try and "force" ourselves to take those same types of breaths, we seldom, if ever, can. We can take much deeper breaths if we think about it since most of us breath rather shallow to begin with, but when we attempt to take several really deep breaths in a row, it's difficult. At least it is for me. Like when the doctor is listening to your lungs and asks you to take several deep breaths in fairly rapid succession..........by the third one you're really "working" to get those lungs full.
It's my guess that during the day you take really satisfying deep breaths that you're not even aware of. But then you try and force yourself and can't.
The solution, naturally, is very simple. Stop concentrating on your breathing. LOL Really lame advice, I know. It's like telling me not to think about my pounding heart during an panic attack. BUT, there are ways for me to get my thoughts off my heart just as there are ways for you to get your mind off your breathing. Takes time, patience and practice, but it can be done.
There are many excellent books out there on "proper" breathing techniques, which we could ALL benifit from. Yoga is great for teaching calm, relaxed breathing. And of course, there is your own mind! When you find yourself obsessing about this deep breath you can't take, stop thinking about it and go do something else, preferrably something rather physical. With practice, I really think you will find that this "difficulty" was all in your mind...........whether it was due to stress, fatigue or whatever. Like all of us anxious folks, we must work very hard to overcome our obsessions with various bodily functions and breathing "difficulties" is pretty high on that list.
Try to relax, which I realize is not easy, get your thoughts on something else and see of that doesn't, over time and with practice, help you with your breathing.
If it doesn't, come back and talk to us as there are many folks here who can give you help and advice on what has helped them deal with this exact problem.
Now, take a nice deep breath and get on with life.
Peace
Greenlydia          
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458072_tn?1291418786
Have you tried soaking in epsoms salt? that can be very relaxing and helps with tension that comes with anxiety.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had this problem for a few weeks, and I do believe it was anxiety/stress related. I kept trying to take deep breaths by sighing and breathing in with my chest, and I did it so much that eventually my chest felt sore and frozen in a way.

I recommend consciously avoiding sighing or breathing deeply with your chest for an entire day. Breathe with your stomach, even if that means walking around with your stomach protruding awkwardly for a while. That helped me, and the next day I felt better.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for the advice, everyone.

I have tried to not think about breathing since I do realize that it does make it worse, but even if I try to distract myself, I still end up struggling with it.  I have been in choir since high school, so I've been taught proper breathing techniques, and yet I still seem to have a problem.  I'll try harder next time to completely distract myself and see if it turns into something that I make a bigger deal of.

Thanks!  I appreciate everyone's input.  :)
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Avatar_n_tn
Yes I have had this on and off-mainly off thankfully-for decades..that feeling like you HAVE to take deep breaths or inability to do so//a stuffy nose heightens it.
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Avatar_f_tn
I also have this problems for more than 3 years already. I have gone to hospital for many times already but it doesn't help anything. It's getting wprse these days. I told my mom that i'm okay now even though it's not. I tried not to think about it but every time it happens, i have a very difficult time breathing. I wish there are a cure for it.
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