All of us at anxietycentre.com have experienced debilitating anxiety. But we’ve also overcome it and returned to normal and lasting health. Because we know the hardship anxiety unwellness can cause, we are committed to helping others, with over 27 years of service.” - Jim Folk, President, anxietycentre.com

Feel out of breath anxiety?

Feel out of breath anxiety symptoms?:

Are you feeling out of breath? Feel like you can't catch your breath? Feel like you have to force yourself to breathe or that you are yawning to try and catch your breath? Feel short of breath?

Feeling out of breath is a common symptom of anxiety. A great many anxious people experience this symptom. So do people who are under a lot of stress. We’ll explain why in a moment.

Because there are many medical conditions that can cause anxiety-like symptoms, such as feeling out of breath, it’s best to discuss new, changing, persistent, and returning symptoms with your doctor. If your doctor determines that your out of breath symptoms are solely caused by anxiety, you can be assured that there isn’t another medical cause. Generally, most doctors can easily tell the difference between anxiety caused sensations and symptoms, such as feeling out of breath or short of breath, from those caused by other medical reasons.

Again, yes, being anxious (anxiety) is a common cause of the symptom feel out of breath or short of breath anxiety symptoms.  Because the feel out of breath anxiety symptoms are frequently caused by anxiety, they aren’t a reason to be concerned. Here’s why…

Why does anxiety cause the 'feel out of breath’ anxiety symptoms?

Being anxious activates the stress response. The stress response is designed to prepare and enhance the body's ability to deal with a threat – to either fight or flee – which is the reason the stress response is often referred to as the ‘fight or flight’ response.

Part of the changes the stress response brings about cause the heart to beat faster and muscles to tighten. These changes can increase respiration and at the same time tighten the muscles in the chest and diaphragm, which can make it seem like you are short of breath or having difficulty breathing. While a stress response is active, many people experience the feel out of breath or short of breath anxiety symptoms. This is common.

But being overly anxious for an extended period of time, or being under a lot of stress for an extended period of time can also overly stress the body, which can cause it to become stress-response hyperstimulated (overly stressed). When the body becomes overly stressed, it can exhibit a wide range of anxiety-like symptoms, such as the feel out of breath or short of breath anxiety symptoms.

How to deal with the feel out of breath anxiety symptoms?

Since anxiety symptoms are merely symptoms of stress, they aren’t harmful in and of themselves. So you don’t have to worry about them. Reducing your stress and worry will allow the body to return to normal, non-hyperstimulated health. As the body recovers from stress-response hyperstimulation, it stops sending symptoms, including the feel out of breath or short of breath anxiety symptoms.

Stopping your worry, reducing your body’s stress, and increasing rest and relaxation all can help in reducing the body’s stress and stress-caused symptoms.

You also don’t have to worry that you’ll stop breathing. Stress and anxiety can’t do that. Stress and anxiety can only make it seem as if you’ll run out of breath, but not that you actually will.

There are other reasons why anxiety can cause the feel out of breath anxiety symptoms. We explain these in Chapter 9 in the Recovery Support area of our website. Chapter 9 contains information about every common anxiety symptom, including shortness of breath. It is the most comprehensive anxiety symptoms resource available anywhere today. Each symptom is described, fully explained, has tips on how to eliminate it, and lets you know how many people generally experience it. Many of our Recovery Support members find this chapter invaluable and reassuring.

You can find out more information about our Recovery Support area by clicking on the button below:


For more information about the feel out of breath anxiety symptoms, see the “Shortness of Breath anxiety symptoms" here.

If you’d like personal assistance with your recovery, you can learn more about our Personal Coaching option here.

You can return to our anxiety FAQ page here.

Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated April 2015.

Anxiety symptoms can range in type, number, intensity, frequency, and duration with each person having a unique experience with anxiety symptoms, including the feel out of breath anxiety symptoms.