When Anxiety Hurts: The Physical Symptoms of Anxiety

Posted by on Jul 16, 2015 in Anxiety | 0 comments

shutterstock_73995244Anxiety may be classified as a mental illness, but those who suffer from the condition know all too well that it can also take a physical toll on your well-being. The symptoms of anxiety reach far beyond mental anguish, leaving many to cope with its life-altering side effects. While anxiety will manifest itself differently for each individual, it is important to recognize the ways anxiety may be causing you to physically “hurt.”

A host of symptoms 

Anxiety won’t look exactly the same from person to person, but many of the common symptoms will reappear time after time. While it may be unrealistic to compile a list containing every possible physical reaction, typical ones include:

· Excessive sweating and clammy hands

· Difficulty swallowing

· Lightheadedness or dizziness

· Chest pains or feelings of heaviness on the chest

· Trembling

· Nausea

· Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

· Increase or decrease in appetite

· Headaches

· Substance abuse

· Muscle tension

· Blushing

· Increased heart rate

· Fatigue or insomnia

· Excessive foot tapping or foot shaking

· Inability to sit still, or the sudden urge to run

These symptoms, along with many others, can greatly interfere with daily living and productivity. In addition to the physical manifestations of general anxiety, many individuals must also endure the effects of frequent panic attacks.

Anxiety and everyday life 

If you are living with anxiety and its many physical symptoms, you may find it difficult to cope, and to live your life normally. Anxiety’s hold can be powerful, and learning to become the master of your own mind and body may take time.

If you are experiencing the above-mentioned effects of anxiety, you do not have to be a slave to your symptoms! In order to better live your everyday life with minimal influence from your anxiety, consider the following coping mechanisms:

· Meet with your doctor. If your anxiety interferes strongly with your ability to live life each day, talk with your doctor and mental health provider to evaluate your physical symptoms, and to consider different treatment options. Your doctor can help determine if your symptoms might be related to other, underlying problems—or if your anxiety is fully to blame.

If you suffer from moderate to severe symptoms, your doctor will also be able to monitor any potentially dangerous medical situations, or changes in behavior. Together, you and your treatment team can discuss medications, therapies, and at-home coping techniques that may be useful to you.

· Recognize and soothe your physical anxiety. Once you become aware of how anxiety presents itself in your life, you will be better able to take control of triggering situations when they arise. When you begin to experience your “typical” symptoms, or have urges you know are caused by feelings of anxiety, take a moment to process and work through the causes of your distress.

If you feel unable to control your symptoms, or make the discomfort disappear, take a few deep breaths and focus on remaining present. Minimize your reaction to your physical anxiety by repeating positive affirmations, meditating, taking a walk, journaling your thoughts and urges, smelling a candle, or by using other effective self-soothing methods.

· Take care of yourself. While feelings of anxiety may be truly unavoidable in your life, taking proper care of yourself can reduce the influence of your anxiety’s physical side effects.

To the best of your ability, eat well and often, get plenty of cardiovascular exercise, and set aside designated, screen-free periods of time for naps and nightly sleep. Your body needs to be well fueled and well cared for in order to function, and fight off anxious thoughts and behaviors.

When it comes to the battle against anxiety, give yourself every possible physical advantage.

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