Q. Will your body stop breathing if you concentrate on things other than breathing?

Answered by
Dr. Muhammad Zubayer Alam
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Nov 15, 2021

Hello doctor,

My body stops breathing when I focus my mind on something else other than breathing. And I only start breathing when I concentrate on breathing again. This problem only happens when I remember about it.

Kindly help.



Welcome to

Thank you for the query. I can understand your concern. According to your statement, you have been suffering from stopping to breathe while focusing your mind on something else other than breathing.

Breathing is a continuous process that is primarily subconscious. But, sometimes, when we focus our mind entirely on a task, to perform the task, our autonomic nervous system may hold or switch off breathing for a while. But our autonomic nervous system cannot control breathing for an extended period. Without a continuous breathing process, we cannot live for a long time.

So, it is pretty normal. But, it can be a sign of stress or anxiety if such an incident happens too frequently. Controlling stress or anxiety is the main solution. Your tests for measuring breathing were normal (attachments removed to protect the patient’s identity). So, do not worry. If you think that you are suffering from any stress or anxiety, you can consult with a professional psychiatrist for psychotherapy and counseling to control your stress or anxiety.

Take care.

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