How to overcome anxiety chest tightness? Anxiety creates a psychological and emotional state that people create when they feel cornered, worried, pressured, or concerned. When a person has issues with controlling them, anxiety can become a part of their everyday lives.
It can show in different forms, including panic attacks, social anxiety, and phobia. Chest tightness is one of the most common symptoms of anxiety. It is also the scariest one as it results in difficulty breathing and may be confused with a heart attack.
Normally, chest pain or chest tightness caused by anxiety lasts for 10 minutes or so and occurs together with other anxiety symptoms. Also, it is not likely to affect your back and arms. While it may be scary to experience, chest tightness caused by anxiety is completely harmless. Pay great attention to chest pain, as it may be a symptom of another health condition.
Causes of Anxiety and Chest Tightness
Most likely, everyone has to deal with anxiety at least a few times in their lives. Especially now in our fast-pacing world, responsibilities are becoming greater in numbers than ever before.
May it be worrying about getting enough food, providing for the family, or feeling terrified before having a public speech; these are all potential anxiety triggers. In fact, any state of worry, even the minor ones such as visiting a dentist, can lead to anxiety.
Causes of Tightness in Chest
Tightness or pain in the chest can be caused by various reasons deriving from anxiety, including:
Hyperventilation is the most common reason for chest pain and tightness. It occurs when a person breathes rapidly or is trying to take deep breaths too fast. Both situations are common to those who are experiencing an anxiety disorder. The result of hyperventilation is a squeezing feeling around the chest area.
We already know that anxiety affects digestion, causing bloating and gas problems. When bloating occurs, the gut expands, causing pressure on other organs and the chest area.
Muscle strains can also cause chest pain. While usually these strains are minor and can barely be felt, the people dealing with anxiety can feel them to a much greater extent.
Note: Chest tightness is a frightening sensation as it is associated with stroke and heart attack. If you are experiencing other symptoms like pain radiating to your arms and back, call emergency immediately.
Symptoms of Anxiety
To start dealing with anxiety, you should first know if you really are prone to it. Worrying is normal, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have anxiety. The symptoms of anxiety, however, can sometimes be terrifying.
Know that we all have some problems on our hands, so pitying yourself won’t help you deal with these problems. Check out the following symptoms of a person with an anxiety disorder to determine if you are dealing with the same problem.
- Excessive worrying daily, both about minor and bigger problems. This often results in fatigue.
- Regular muscle tension throughout the body – may it be muscle-flexing, jaw clenching, or balling fists.
- Chronic indigestion, resulting in cramping, stomachaches, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea.
- Social phobia, resulting in people thinking about a certain event or situation for days or weeks before or after it actually occurs.
- High self-consciousness makes people believe that all eyes and ears are focused on them. The results of such beliefs include trembling, sweating, blushing, and difficulty speaking when around other people.
- Self-doubting and panicking.
- Compulsive behavior, resulting in performing the known and tested rituals over and over.
- Irrational fears, causing a person to overact in certain situations.
- Sleep problems, causing difficulty falling asleep because of excessive thinking and worrying.
How to Overcome Anxiety and Chest Tightness
Most likely, everyone has to deal with anxiety at least a few times in their lives. Especially now in our fast-pacing world, responsibilities are becoming greater in numbers than ever before. May it be worrying about getting enough food, providing for the family, or feeling terrified before having a public speech; these are all potential anxiety triggers. In fact, any state of worry, even the minor ones such as visiting a dentist, can lead to anxiety.
Here are some of the best ideas on overcoming the anxiety that will help you improve your life.
Regular physical activities greatly contribute to overall brain health and are proven to reduce anxiety. During physical exercise, our brains release serotonin and dopamine, chemicals responsible for encouraging a good mood.
Physical exercise also boosts endorphins supply resulting in having a satisfactory feeling – a feeling of doing something good.
To deal with anxiety in the long term, create a workout plan that includes various daily exercises. The exercises don’t have to belong. You mustn’t tell yourself that you don’t have time because, in fact, you do. It doesn’t have to take more than half an hour per day.
Some of the best exercises for combatting anxiety include:
- And various other cardio workouts.
2. Control Your Breathing
Breathing has a lot to do with anxiety, both in terms of making it happen and making it worse. If you can control your breathing, you can more easily manage your anxiety attacks and deal with stressful situations.
- When you begin experiencing an anxiety attack, try to sit down, place your hands on your thighs, and close your eyes. Sit in a straight position.
- Begin slowly inhaling through your nose while pushing your chest outwards. Make sure that the inhale lasts for 5 seconds.
- Hold your breath for an additional 5 seconds or so.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth for approximately 7 seconds.
- Pause for 2 – 3 seconds without inhaling and repeat the process a few more times until the situation is under control.
Tip: While performing breathing in such a way, try to imagine that all of the anxiety is gone and that you are managing the situation. This will help you regain self-esteem and control.
3. Change Your Mindset
As you already know, anxiety is created by ourselves due to negative feelings such as excessive worrying.
This can be one of the hardest things to do, but you can prevent anxiety attacks from occurring if you make it happen. You have to convince yourself and believe that your situation and problems are under control. Here are some of the effective methods on how to overcome anxiety by changing your mindset.
- Be happy with yourself. If you are reading this, then it is a reminder that you are a good person. Be proud of who you are and whatever you do in life.
- Appreciate your situation. Life probably hasn’t gone easy on you, but you’re not the only one. Surely, things can always get worse.
- Be thankful for everything, even the smallest things you come across. Say ‘thank you often and mean it.
- Get rid of negative people around you. They may try to put you down because of your life situation or make remarks that will cause your anxiety to worsen.
- Allow yourself to do more of what makes you happy. Do it daily to manage your emotions better.
4. Follow a Healthy Diet
It may sound silly to associate anxiety with what you ate for lunch, but the foods you consume impact your cognitive function. According to studies, an unhealthy diet is often linked to stress and anxiety.
To combat anxiety and chest tightness symptoms, incorporate more fruits, whole grains, and vegetables into your diet.
5. Live for Today
We all have responsibilities, and that’s completely okay. Nevertheless, we must not let responsibilities handle our entire life. This is important, especially for people dealing with anxiety. Worrying is normal, but it is also right to allow yourself to breathe and have fun.
Let yourself enjoy yourself more and do what you want to do regularly. Allow your mind to become free of all the negativity, at least once in a while. Try to experience something new or visit a new place at least once a month.
How to Alleviate Chest Tightness
If you can’t get anxiety under control and it causes chest pain, try to reduce the discomfort by applying the following methods:
- Get your breathing under control (when experiencing hyperventilation). Avoid over-breathing – taking breathes that is fast and deep. Once the breathing is under control, repeat the breathing exercise introduced in the section on overcoming anxiety.
- Let out excess gas (when experiencing bloating). You may also consider taking medications that will help you with bloating.
- Distract yourself (when experiencing over-sensitization). You can distract yourself in various ways. Go for a short walk, do some push-ups, or try solving some riddles. Any distraction will help.
Anxiety is an uncomfortable psychological state caused by the way one handles worrisome situations. We are all exposed to anxiety, regardless of whether one is old or young, rich or poor.
Anxiety is often associated with scary symptoms such as chest pain. While it is possible to determine whether chest pain derives from anxiety or another condition, it is best to consult a professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. Consider visiting a therapist if our anxiety is too strong and you cannot seem to control it anymore. There is no shame in seeing a professional.