Some people with breathlessness may find at times that it causes them to feel anxious. Some people feel as though they are having a panic attack. Common symptoms of anxiety and panic are heart palpitations, feeling sick, sweating, a dry mouth or dizziness.
Anxiety may cause you to breathe too fast and to take shallow breaths from the top of your lungs rather than from your lower chest. This may make you feel more breathless, which in turn can increase the anxiety.
A way to break this cycle is to gradually slow your breathing rate, and use controlled tummy breathing exercises or relaxation techniques. Using a handheld fan to blow air on the face, and breathing out against the fan, may also help calm your breathing. Some people may need to take medication to help them manage their anxiety.
If you notice there are times when you hyperventilate (overbreathe), try to identify what triggered it. Talking about the cause with friends or family may help because they’ll be aware of it next time.