I stop breathing deeply when teaching HELP !

I spent many months last year trying to get an explanation of my breathing problems - mainly tight chestedness.

Eventually it was decided I didn't have asthma and the problems were largely alleviated by treating my allergies. The consultant also pointed out that I wasn't breathing deeply or regularly enough so suggested I saw a respiratory physio. I picked up some useful exercises ( despite him trying to find out what I was anxious about all the time when my only anxiety was my breathing problem ).

Unfortunately I am now back at the level of tight chestedness I was at before while still taking all the anti-allergy meds.

The problem seems to come on when I have been teaching. I work as a private maths tutor and two hours of one to one tuition can leave me feeling more tired and tight than it ought to. I find it hard to think about the breathing and teach at the same time. I can talk all day socially. The recent problems also started when the weather turned colder and my daily bike ride was getting to be more of an effort.

Has anyone else had experience like this ? Does anyone have any ideas ?

3 Replies

  • Hi,

    I've experienced the same thing re breathing physio - spent so long trying to convince her my I was only anxious because of my breathing trouble, not the other way around! However, I was given some useful exercises from the physio, although they are hard to put into practise when busy with something else (like teaching, I imagine!) I know for me (I am often breathless when talking) I have to find a certain rhythm so that I can get my breaths in. A big thing for me is to remember to breathe out - I can be so focused on getting enough air into my lungs that I forget to breathe out at the end of a sentence! I also have to make sure I speak slowly enough to breathe between words, so I'm not just spouting everything out in one rush of air and leaving myself with nothing in reserve.

    Then (and I imagine your physio has given you some exercises?) a main point for me is to breathe from the diaphragm. To help with that I make sure I sit upright and keep my shoulders still, so all my breathing is coming from my tummy. Sorry if this is all stuff you've heard before!

    As for getting worse in the cold weather - all I can say is I have definitely got worse since the weather change, but I am not diagnosed with asthma anymore and I have no allergies, so I think that cold weather just generally has a bad effect on breathing/chest problems? I'm not sure though, just my own theory.

    Sorry I haven't been particularly helpful, just wanted to say I've experienced the same problem really!

  • The more he quizzed me about anxiety the more anxious I appeared. It does help to know it is not just me who has had this experience.

    The breathing from the diaphragm certainly helped and my posture has improved hugely. I used to slump at football matches in my seat to keep warm. Not anymore. Last winter I was fine when it was cold.

    I have decided to try opening the window to get more fresh air in even if it is cold as I think it gets stuffy in my teaching room.

    Also trying to do the exercises more when I CAN concentrate on them in the hope that I can retrain my body somehow.

    I do find it hard to talk when my elderly mother starts one of her funny arguments about things that don't matter. That tenses me up and I have been too snappy recently because I just haven't the energy.

    Have seen my GP again so back on the treadmill of tests.

  • I'm a teacher and I get this too. I get very 'puffed out' at times when teaching and singing in assemblies often leads to lip syncing lol. I also get a tight chest at these times as well as in cold weather and muggy weather. X Sue

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