chest pain from stress
3 Things you must add to your day to reduce stress.
When you experience stress or anxiety, your body can react with many physical symptoms that leave you feeling even more frantic and nervous than before- chest pain is one of these.
So, what can you do to alleviate chest pain when you’re feeling stressed out to the max?
While chest pain from stress can be a tad scary as you can start to think up all sorts of alarming things it could be, it might be reassuring to hear chest pain from stress is a pretty common symptom.
But that doesn’t mean to say don’t do anything about it because the body isn’t designed to be in continuous stress or pain.
Anyway, life is too short to live in fear, right?
By implementing these three things into your daily life, you will improve your stress levels instantly while also future-proofing yourself against life’s inevitable changes so you can handle your stress like a boss!
There are three main ways to alleviate stress and reduce the dreaded symptoms like chest pain.
We will take a close look at them in this post so you can leave with a stress-free attitude and an easy crisis kit to keep a calm head and a happy heart.
You’re not alone with this by the way, I know how you feel.
I used to suffer with crippling anxiety and stress that made me feel like a bumbling idiot half the time, but it was the physical reactions in the body like a seriously tight and painful chest that forced me to do something about it.
And golly gosh am I glad I did because I now live without those crushing feelings and am able to help others do the same.
Before we dive into these three effective stress busters let’s look at what stress is and how stress causes chest pain.
WHAT IS STRESS?
Contrary to popular belief. Stress isn’t always bad for you.
It’s only bad for you if you don’t do anything about it and are living in continuous stress.
Stress is an unavoidable reality of life.
Stress is a natural response built within us that warns us of potential danger allowing us to act fast in the moment
Stress is a state of mental and emotional strain triggered by scary conditions.
For example if there was a fire in the house, our stress response would alarm us and we would act quick.
So it’s primitive and helpful in some cases but unhelpful in others.
Here’s how stress is unhelpful and when it becomes a threat.
Feelings of anxiety and stress induced by living in such a fast paced pressured society can lead us to feeling overwhelmed and stressed more often than not.
The body, brain and nervous system doesn’t know the difference between real danger and perceived danger.
So when you’re continuously in a state of fight of flight (sympathetic nervous system overload) instead of doing something to rest and digest that stress in the parasympathetic nervous system you stay on high alert.
That’s when it becomes a problem and it starts to invade your body and make you feel like you’re losing it. Know what I mean?
I’ve been there! I’ve done that! I’ve got all the T-shirts, hehe!
One of the best descriptions of stress I’ve ever heard is by the Canadian Physician Hans Selye who says:
“Stress is simply the body’s adaptation to change”
It’s how we respond to an internal or external occurrence. This change can be as simple as a change of temperature or maybe something like moving house.
Things are always changing; recent times during the pandemic have proven that to us.
Overtime, we create personal patterns that help us deal with these changes/ stresses.
This stress response links to our beliefs, emotions, our thoughts, the way we move and specifically our breathing.
If you don’t learn to work with the stress and understand it, that’s when it can block your natural life flow and bring discomfort making you feel stressed out, irritable, feeling hopeless and like you need help.
Now I have given you a quick overview of what stress is, let’s look at why stress causes chest pain
How exactly does stress cause chest pain?
Unaddressed stress causes you to have a variety of symptoms from over-stimulating the central nervous system to increasing stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.
Cortisol is responsible for most health problems related to ongoing stress. Chest pain is directly linked to this but also take a look at all the other reasons your chest feels tight and worryingly painful with stress:
- Your heart is the hardest working organ, Increased heart rate from stress brings more activity into this workaholic organ.
- Stress increases blood pressure and short and shallow breathing that is a direct response from.
- Stress tightens the chest shrugging the shoulders and contraction of the chest muscles during stress, crushes the muscles around the front and back of the heart space reduced blood flow to the organs.
- Bad posture during stress, like folding forward and closing inward.
Ok, now we have looked at what stress is and how exactly it causes chest pain.
Let’s start to take action.
3 Things you must add to your day to remove chest pain from stress
- Conscious Breathing
Before you read any further, close your eyes and take a deep breath.
Every good breath begins with a full exhale. Letting the breath release from the body (the belly)
By exhaling fully, you can then take a really deep, long, smooth inhale and continue.
Watch your body relax quickly.
Did you know that the speed and depth of your breath has a direct effect on the mind?
And when you are stressed, you breathe into the chest instead of the belly. No wonder you feel that pesky chest pain.
When we can control our breath, we can control our thoughts and control our mind which relaxes the body.
I am going to give you a very powerful and effective breathing technique that you can do at any point you’re feeling chest pain from stress.
It can alleviate stress instantly.
I suggest you take this tool and use it right away after you’ve finished with this blog (it works) and then practice it daily or whenever your chest starts to feel tight throughout the day.
It will only take 3 minutes of your time.
Full Yogic Breath (diaphragmatic breath breathing) Exercise
- Sit in Meditation Position with a straight spine and close your eyes (see image below or use a chair)
- Take one hand to the belly and one hand to the heart
- Exhale fully
- Then inhale deeply making sure the lower hand on your belly rises first and the hand on the chest shortly after should naturally rise.
- Hold the breath briefly after your inhale 1-2 counts
- Exhale smooth and long
- Keep watching the flow of breath and steady the breath so it becomes slower and slower for 3 mins or more.
When you become stressed, you breathe erratically and short. This is called chest breathing. This isn’t how a human should breathe.
If you watch a baby breathe, you will notice they breathe deep into their belly.
This exercise brings you back to a full breath, which in turn calms the head because the nervous system notes that you are not in danger.
Dr Sat Bir Singh Khasala, PHD assistant professor at the Harvard Medical School and teacher of Kundalini Yoga says:
“There is a very direct relationship between breath rate, mood state, and autonomic nervous system state”
Khalsa also says:
“We’ve long known that breath changes in response to emotion: When people get panicky and stressed, their breath becomes shallow and rapid,” “But we now know from many scientific studies that actively changing the breath length and depth changes the autonomic function and mood state.”
I have had many doctors sending their clients to me for kundalini yoga for fertility during IVF treatment, this is mainly because of Kundalini yoga’s relationship to the breath to lower stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.
Grace Dugdale (gracedugdale.com) biologist and fertility specialist really values the connection between breath and lowering stress response. She highlights the bodies reaction to stress often:
“If we’re working too hard, are stressed or under- or overweight, for instance”
The body becomes much less fertile, so you can only imagine the response and discomfort it creates in the rest of your body.
Whenever you notice the mind going down a rabbit hole (hehe) and the chest getting tighter, bring your awareness to the breath.
The quality of your breath has a direct impact on the quality of your life.
Notice that you are alive and feel grateful for your breath.
Your aliveness is more important than the things you are worrying about.
“Breath is our direct link to our spirit, mood, energy, and hopefulness” By Dr. Shanti Shanti Kaur
Read more about the stress response from a yoga perspective here:
Ok, let’s look at the second most important thing to help you lower your stress.
- Effective Body Movement
Now that I’ve jabbered on about the importance of breath to release chest pain from stress.
Let’s dig into the next of the three vital things to add to your daily life to conquer these feelings once and for all.
I understand that when you feel like you’re losing it or bordering on the edge of feeling crazy from stress, It’s much easier to grab that cold crisp bottle of wine in the fridge or to sit on the sofa binge watching gogglebox and eating cake.
We’re all human here. Humans love comfort, including me.
But sometimes comfort needs to be replaced with action, especially when it comes to stress.
Movement is medicine as they say.
I’m not here to tell you what type of movement to do, exercise is personal and what works for one person might nor work for another.
The bottom line is movement is proven as one of the most effective ways to reduce stress and remove that stress triggered chest pain.
- Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol.
- It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.
- Stressed muscles are tight, tense muscles. Hence your chest pain. By learning to relax your muscles, you will be able to use your body to dissipate stress.
An article published by Harvard Medical School on the importance of movement for stress reduction mentions
“Mental stress can also produce physical symptoms. Muscles are tense, resulting in fidgetiness, taut facial expressions, headaches, or neck, chest and back pain. A pounding pulse is common, as is chest tightness”
Movement helps with all of the above, read the full article here:
The article above also mentions that “Many people find that using large muscle groups in a rhythmic, repetitive fashion works best; call it “muscular meditation,” and you’ll begin to understand how it works.
Here are my favourite repetitive movement styles that I use daily to keep my stress levels low and my head happy and calm
- Kundalini Yoga
I am sure you’re well aware of the meditative benefits of walking and running, but just to stir the mix up a little in case you’re totally not into running (I get it) Kundalini yoga might be an easy to start perfect solution for you.
What makes Kundalini Yoga more effective for stress reduction than, say, 30 minutes on the boring gym machines?
Kundalini Yoga is a complete holistic experience.
It works with breathing, repetitive movement and sound to reduce the effects of stress on the body.
I have never experienced anything quite as powerful for reducing stress and anxiety as kundalini yoga.
While most forms of exercise reduce stress, Kundalini Yoga is uniquely suited because of its positive effects on the glandular system for hormone balance.
The moves you use in Kundalini yoga directly release the tension built up over time from holding the breath and shallow breathing and various muscles in your particular stress response pattern.
Some of the movements you do in this style of yoga directly release chest tension and pain.
“Practice of Kundalini Yoga releases tension from the inner organs, nerves, and glands, and creates an internal biochemistry of calm, inner balance, and depth of self”.
Says Shanti Shanti Kaur Khalsa, PhD of the Medicine & Humanology University.
With Kundalini Yoga and the practices of breath and meditation that come with it, we can change old stress response patterns and live daily with a calm, confident and equanimous mind.
Goodbye stress chest, hello open heart and calm head.
I’ve been teaching and practicing Kundalini yoga for over 16 years and it has taken me from anxiety and depression with a little drink problem, to happy and clear with no drink problem.
Check this other article here about 5 scientifically proven ways kundalini yoga helps anxiety
I think one of the reasons it’s so beneficial is because it’s easy to learn and can fit into a busy schedule.
There are exercises you can do in under 3 minutes for instant relief and exercises you can do for much longer for huge life-changing benefits.
It can reverse ill effects of long-term stress, and to increase our capacity to form and maintain healthy stress response patterns.
Try this effective Stress Booster kundalini exercise that will reduce chest pain instantly and calm your stress levels.
The moral of the story. When you feel stressed, move!
Moving releases endorphins (your natural pain relief)
Rid Chest Pain Related Stress- Try this:
Let’s move onto the third and final thing to bring into your daily life to reduce your stress.
- Positive Affirmation or Mantra
Through mantra or the reciting of positive affirmation you can tap into the absolutely calm and tranquil inner peace that already exists in you.
This stuff is magic!
Ok, I get it… you might hear the word mantra and think its new age spirituality woo woo stuff.
But that’s not necessarily the case.
In fact the Alzheimer’s Research Institute recommends a mantra based practice to help prevent getting Alzheimers because Alzheimers has a massive link to stress.
The Alzheimer’s Research Institution says:
“This non-religious practice can be adapted to several lengths, but practicing it for just 12 minutes a day has been shown to reduce stress levels and increase activity in areas of the brain that are central to memory.”
Check of the full mantra meditation on their website here:
What the Eastern mindfulness practitioners have always known that the West are just catching up with is reciting mantra or positive affirmation has a direct effect on our subconscious mind.
Out with the old stress patterns and in with a fighting chance of feeling in a stable and secure emotional condition.
“MAN” means mind. “TRA” means to tune into the vibration of the universe. Mantra is a word or words, a combination of syllables that help us to focus the mind.
Here are some reasons why mantra helps you reduce stress instantly:
- It helps slow the breath. Slow steady breath= slow steady mind= reduced stress
- It focuses the mind and works on the memory and learning part of the nervous system for focus and mental clarity
- Repetition (repetition is the mother of skill)
According to a study done by the Department of Psychological & Alternative Medicine at Sri Balaji Clinic in India, by repeating a mantra it helps to improve concentration and stability and helps with mental clarity.
A mantra is fueled by the act of repetition to work on the subconscious for stress response patterns.
If you want to read further into mantra for stress relieve, check out this article: 40 Powerful Mantras for Instant Stress Relief.
This article concludes that
“Corporate executives rarely get a chance to relax and unplug. Using mantras can be an effective fix for this. Executives in daily work or personal life can easily use mantras!
By repeating a thought or catchphrase, it gains suggestive strength and energy. This act of repetition can actually help us control stress and anxiety”
If you struggle with anxiety also, have a little look at this
So fling the preconceptions about mantra being woo woo out the window and get cracking with reducing your stress now.
This is my absolute favourite mantra playlist to listen to when I feel stressed – Try the mantra playlist here
In fact, I challenge you to listen to this playlist as often as you can during daily life; in the car driving to work, at work if you have the luxury or take a quiet moment drop all other things and use it in a more focused way.
Music is proven to lower stress effectively and music in repetition (mantra) is even more meditative. Check out the benefits of music for lowering stress here: Can Listening to Music Reduce Stress? Research, Benefits, and Genres (psychcentral.com)
According to Donald Collins of the Psychology Central
“A recent 2021 study showed that adults who listened to both personal and neutral selections of music, at home and in a laboratory environment, had significantly “reduced cortisol levels.”
here is a little challenge for you
Pop this playlist on (playlist) and give yourself 3-10 minutes of self care by lying down comfortably or sitting in a meditation position connecting to that long deep breath you learnt at the beginning of the article and just listen.
Let the rhythm of the mantra quickly ease you’re stressed chest and bring you back to a deep rooted sense of calm where you feel supported and at peace.
You can go to that space whenever you feel flustered, stressed out or out of control.
Want to know more about mantra – click here for my magic of mantra blog
I hope this article was of help to you.
QUICK TAKE AWAYS
Quick takeaways from this article for you:
Stress is a normal part of being a human especially when you’re flying round like a headless chicken in this buzzing modern day world.
Not to mention holding down a career, looking after children or pets, doing house chores and then trying to fit self care time in for yourself.
Overwhelming to say the least.
Remember you’re doing your best. Don’t beat yourself up
Chest pain is a very common side effect of stress, one of which can feel pretty alarming.
But, You have the ability to reduce your stress by adding these three things into your day:
- Conscious Breathing
- Effective Movement
- Mantra or Positive Affirmation
Even if you just choose one of them for now and even if it’s just three minutes, you will see a difference instantly.
“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” ― Amit Ray
And with that said my friend, I’ll be seeing you.
FINALLY TRY THE FREE STRESS RELIEF CLASS BELOW. 👇