Every day may not be good when you live with chronic lung disease, but there is something good in every day.
Understanding negative emotions and managing your moods
Living with chronic lung disease can affect many aspects of your life. Physical symptoms of shortness of breath, fatigue and cough can affect your confidence in your ability to perform activities or be as social as you would enjoy.
These physical symptoms can lead you to feel fearful, angry, frustrated and hopeless. Stress, anxiety and depression are normal reactions to living with chronic lung disease. These often feed into a sense of hopelessness and isolation. Quitting smoking can sometimes heighten these emotions.
To prevent emotions and moods from controlling your day, recognize that these feelings are real, as well as temporary.
- Acknowledge your feelings and work through them by reminding yourself that you are not alone in your thoughts and feelings.
- Acknowledge your abilities as well as the efforts that you make to improve your health and wellness.
- Value your relationships and talk with a friend or family member about your negative moods and emotions before setting them aside.
If you are unable to set them aside and are chronically concerned with negative thoughts and emotions talk to a member of your healthcare for direction and support.
STRESS is a normal part of human life. Whether you believe it is bad or good, you are right. People who believe that stress is good tend to cope better with life’s challenges. The stress response prepares your mind and body for handling difficult situations.
Chronic stress can lead to anxiety and/or depression. It uses up energy, and is associated with shortness of breath, muscle tension, and mood regulation. Stress can cause headaches, indigestion, painful muscles, and difficulty sleeping.
Managing your mood
- Decrease stress on a daily or weekly basis: Pace yourself – do not overload or overwhelm your day
- Ask for help or delegate a few tasks that have become a burden on your health and wellness. Ask your provider about Community Support Services – regional programs are often subsidized.
- Find your province or territory among the Ministries of health web sites for additional support.
- Respond assertively to demands:
– Don’t be afraid to say “no” or “not today”
– Offer a comfortable alternative based on your physical and emotional wellness
- Relax your body and quiet your mind: Explore what works for you
– Diaphragmatic breathing
– Going outside for sun and fresh air
– Finding an online meditation
– Hand or shoulder massage
ANXIETY is a feeling of worry, nervousness or unease.
Chronic lung disease causes shortness of breath. This can bring on anxiety and panic about feeling air hungry. Panic and anxiety increase shortness of breath, leaving you stressed, tired and fearful of performing activities. Reduced activity leads to muscle deconditioning which makes you feel more short of breath and more anxious about being active; and the cycle continues.
Anxiety regarding shortness of breath can limit your social activities which leaves you feeling isolate, angry and/or sad.
Managing your mood
Sit back, relax, breath, and think about the situations that don’t cause anxiety.
– Pursed-lip breathing
– Singing or humming a tune can help relieve shortness of breath and anxiety
Talk about it with a friend or family member, or journal it – don’t hold on to your negative feelings
If your anxiety is based on past experiences, how can you plan to be better prepared in the future?
– Rather than dwelling on the past, consider options and possibilities to improve the situation
– Recognize negative circular thinking and say STOP
Use positive self-talk – “can do” statements
– I can pace myself
– I can use breathing to calm my anxiety
– I can enjoy doing these things
Use positive self-imagery: Imagining activates the same parts of your brain as actually doing!
– Imagine yourself DOING
– Imagine confidence
DEPRESSION is a low mood that lasts weeks and months coupled with feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
Chronic lung disease is difficult to cope with. Every flare-up leads to a little loss of lung function. Many feel a sense of loss for the future they had intended, or a loss for the activities that used to be enjoyed. Depression can range from mild to debilitating and can make it difficult to eat, sleep, exercise, and keep socially connected. Depression can also cause physical pain.
Managing your mood
Be aware of your moods
- Keep a diary of your mood on your calendar with a smiley face or sad face, or a scale from 1-10 on how your rate your joy or sadness
- Notice the things that help your mood
- Challenge the way you think
Be kind to yourself
- It’s okay to have a bad day. Sometimes, just getting out of bed is a victory. Take care of yourself, so that you can have a better tomorrow
- Self-care places value and worth on you as an individual not on your disease.
Set your mind to do something you enjoy and do it
- Keep active with exercise – ask a friend to join you while you walk
- Keep socially connected (visit, phone call, social media)
The power of sexuality
Sexuality is both intimacy and sexual activity. It promotes feelings of pleasure, excitement, relaxation and a shared connection.
It is important to take time for intimacy. Intimacy brings comfort, confidence, joy, and security by validating an emotional bond and physical closeness. Share your needs, feelings, and ideas with your partner, honestly and directly.
Sexual activity is an important part of a healthy relationship. There is no need to abstain from sex because of your chronic lung disease. Additional planning can make sexual experiences more pleasurable.
Having a positive mindset gives you authority over your disease and provides opportunity for self-management.
- You are in charge of increasing your exercise capacity
- You are in charge of managing your symptoms
- You are in charge of taking your medications on time
- You are in charge of your health habits
- You are in charge of selecting healthy foods
- You are in charge of scheduling your vaccinations
- You are in charge of planning your advanced directives
- You are still in charge of your future
This is the week to increase your strength training.
Steps to Success
If you have a pulse oximeter, check your oxygen saturation and heart rate. If they are normal for you, plan to exercise with us.
Do you assess your symptoms daily?
Do you take your controller inhalers as prescribed, at the same time, daily?
Do you use your fast-acting reliever medications less often now that you are using breathing techniques to manage your dyspnea?
Do you exercise regularly?
Did you decide to quit smoking, this can affect your mood and energy level. Remember, you are not alone. Call a friend to celebrate your decision and to support you in your effort. Reach out to a member of your healthcare team for additional support and resources.
The foods you choose can help you moods – berries, yogurt, oats, or whole grains are great choices to start your day in a great way.
If you have answered “yes” to some of these questions, you have so much to be proud of!
Keeping the promises that you have made to yourself is one way to improve your emotional well-being. Review your SMART Goal for exercise from module 1.
Relaxation and Meditation
Reinforcing relaxation and diaphragmatic breathing.
There are also many free meditations that can be found on YouTube and various other websites to promote stability, clarity, mood, motivation, relaxation and sleep. The Canadian Lung Association does not endorse the use of any particular or specific website or channel for meditation and relaxation. Sites listed are suggestions only.
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BREATHE Better – Stay STRONG Virtual Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program Medical Disclaimer
Before you begin the BREATHE Better – Stay STRONG Virtual Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program, please read and agree to the medical disclaimer.
Medical Advice Disclaimer, Disclaimer of Warranty and Limitation of Liability
Please read this document carefully. The Canadian Lung Association (CLA) strongly recommends that you consult your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before choosing to take part in BREATHE Better-Stay STRONG. You acknowledge that CLA offers no medical assessment, diagnosis, or treatment, and that CLA makes no determination as to whether or not you are physically fit to participate in this program. This program is intended for Canadians living with chronic lung disease, be it obstructive or restrictive in nature. This program is not supervised and therefore not intended for Canadians who are awaiting lung transplant, lung volume reduction surgery or those who have pulmonary hypertension. Certain pre-existing non-respiratory conditions may also exclude you from participating in the exercise portion of this program.
THERE ARE POTENTIAL RISKS INHERENT in your participation in BREATHE Better-Stay STRONG, including, without limitation, worsening of your existing symptoms, an increased load on the heart, episodes of light headedness, fainting, dizziness, pain, chest discomfort, shortness of breath and bone and muscular injury. If you experience faintness, dizziness, pain, or unmanageable shortness of breath at any time while participating in exercise program, you should stop immediately.
CLA and BREATHE Better-Stay STRONG cannot respond to medical emergencies. If you think you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.
CLA assumes no liability or responsibility for the use of any information provided by BREATHE Better-Stay STRONG, or for your reliance on this information in place of specific medical advice from a qualified health care provider. As is, the health information content provided in this program is current, reviewed and approved by qualified healthcare professionals. To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, CLA disclaims all liability for any errors or other inaccuracies in the information provided. In no event shall CLA be liable for damages of any kind, including but not limited to direct, indirect, special, consequential, or other monetary damages in connection with your use of or reliance upon information provided by BREATHE Better-Stay STRONG.
By following this program, you acknowledge that you have read, understand and agree to abide by the above Medical Advice Disclaimer, and Disclaimer of Warranty and Limitation of Liability.