How Stress And Anxiety Affects The Body – If you suffer from anxiety occasionally or even regularly, you may be familiar with the symptoms it brings.
The good news is that anxiety in itself is not a bad thing. Feeling anxious is a normal and healthy way that humans interact with our environment. Anxiety helps us prepare our bodies and minds to effectively deal with potentially stressful situations. This could include heading into your first day at a new job, a final exam or asking someone out on a date.
How Stress And Anxiety Affects The Body
Anxiety may interfere with your work/school and personal life. In other words, it hinders your activities of daily living or ADLs as they are called in my world.
How Stress Affects The Body Fact Sheet
If you read the ultimate guide to anxiety, we break the anxiety response down into 3 parts that interact with each other:
For this post, we’re going to focus on the physical symptoms, including some things you may not be aware of related to anxiety.
If we are going to talk about the physical side effects of anxiety, let’s start with the most important step in anxiety – panic attacks.
A panic attack is your fight-flight-freeze (FFF) system at its strongest. This system is responsible for keeping us out of harm’s way in response to threatening situations.
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During a panic attack, you will experience a rush of anxiety symptoms, all at once, which can be very frightening. You may experience some or many of the following symptoms:
Although it feels like forever, these panic attack symptoms usually peak around 10 minutes, so they don’t last long.
But many times even after a panic attack has passed, you can continue to experience anxiety symptoms. What do you do then?
So you’ve just had a panic attack – that’s gross. But now it’s over, and you don’t have to worry about any other physical symptoms…right?
How Does Stress Affect The Body?
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Anxiety is a type of mental illness that can manifest itself in non-specific ways. This means you may not explicitly
You may have trouble sleeping or eating, which are the most common symptoms of many mental illnesses, including anxiety and depression.
It is important to be aware of the more subtle and less obvious physical symptoms of anxiety. They can vary, depending on personal, cultural and family circumstances. These symptoms can easily be ignored or attributed to physical causes rather than mental illness.
For example, if you experience frequent neck and shoulder pain, it may be seen as a symptom of muscle strain or arthritis. In reality, it can be a side effect of anxiety, as you may unconsciously strain your muscles, with your neck and shoulders bearing the brunt.
Stress And Anxiety Can Affect All Parts Of Your Body From Yo…
Short-Term Physical Symptoms of Anxiety All the physical symptoms of anxiety you experience can be traced back to your brain and how it reacts when you are stressed. Tweet
When your brain activates the FFF system, it releases hormones to prepare your body to fight the threat. These hormones affect many muscles and organs throughout your body.
It redirects energy and resources from certain parts of the body to others, to produce a more efficient response to the stressors in your environment.
When the stress has passed, your body’s functions return to normal. However, if you have anxiety, your brain and body may have a harder time doing this.
How Anxiety & Depression Impacts Your Physical Health
If you have trouble sleeping regularly, this may be a side effect of your anxiety. Furthermore, your discomfort can make your anxiety worse.
You may not realize it but anxiety can cause severe muscle tension throughout your body. Your body is in overdrive, and this constant readiness can take its toll on your muscles. This can cause pain anywhere from your head to your feet
Our bodies see digestion as a non-essential function in times of stress (tell that to the half-digested burger sitting in my stomach!). But this slow activity causes you to feel uncomfortable and sick.
Even if you are not in a state of anxiety, your stomach may take time to receive the message from your brain. This can cause stomach aches and indigestion even if you are not anxious.
Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorder That You Might Not Recognize
Do you feel the need to urinate in an anxious situation, or even if you don’t? You don’t drink that much water, so what gives? Again, you can blame it on your hormonal response to anxiety.
Emptying the bladder prepares your body to fight off any threat (even if there isn’t one), but it can be downright annoying when it happens too often.
Your body works overtime to pump blood and oxygen to the large muscles. This is how the body prepares to respond to potentially dangerous situations.
Check out this post on Instagram 《 Lets Take a Breath Together 》 . It’s midday and you may notice a drop in your energy or increased stress. . . 1. Sit in your chair so that you are upright and comfortable (or wherever you are, standing, lying down). 2. Follow the video for your breathing guide 🙂 . What did you notice? A post shared by WellNest Psychotherapy (@wellnesttherapy) on Sep 24, 2019 at 12:47pm PDT
Ways To Respond To The Physical Effects Of Stress On The Body
Box breathing is one of my favorite basic strategies. It’s quick, easy and can be done anywhere and as much time as needed.
Pro tip: I personally rub some mint halo from Saje under my nose as I inhale and exhale. And every time it works like a charm for me!
During stress, your body not only sweats but also smells bad. Sometimes you might not even notice you’re anxious until you’re sweating through your t-shirt!
Or, you may sweat more overall, regardless of temperature or physical activity, because your body isn’t getting the message to rest.
What Does Stress Do To The Body?
If you’re like me and always find yourself with damp hands, try this – dab some baby powder on your hands, this will “absorb” the sweat and make it less damp.
If left untreated, the short-term physical symptoms of anxiety can lead to more severe and long-term illnesses that may be more difficult to manage.
Anxiety can trigger persistent stomach aches and frequent trips to the bathroom. If you ignore these symptoms, they may not go away anytime soon, leading to more chronic GI problems, including ulcers and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
IBS is something I hear a lot in sessions, especially with my clients who have a challenging time managing their anxiety.
The Difference Between Worry, Stress And Anxiety
This is due, in part, to the connection between the brain and the gut, which can become unbalanced when a person has an anxiety disorder. The frequent release of stress hormones can disrupt the healthy gut bacteria needed to keep your system balanced, causing all sorts of uncomfortable problems.
And this is why, sometimes you feel like you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t rush to the bathroom right away, even if you just left a few minutes ago.
In this case, chronic stress can interfere with the liver’s ability to balance blood sugar levels. This imbalance can lead to higher blood sugar levels, potentially predisposing a person to type II diabetes.
Furthermore, anxiety and sugar consumption have a complicated relationship of their own. Check out our article on sugar and anxiety to learn more about this vicious cycle in relationships.
The Gut Brain Connection
It turns out that short-term symptoms of anxiety, such as increased heart rate, can actually have serious long-term effects.
Certain types of anxiety disorders (such as phobias) have been linked to an increased risk of having a heart attack.
Acute respiratory distress symptoms such as shortness of breath and chest pain can lead to diseases such as asthma, where air cannot flow freely through the airways into the lungs.
Research has found that anxiety and asthma have a cyclical relationship. Feeling stressed or anxious can trigger an asthma attack, and asthma symptoms (shortness of breath, trouble breathing) can trigger more anxiety symptoms. Tweet
Short Term And Long Term Effects Of Anxiety
Long-term anxiety can cause a variety of reproductive problems. For one, it can interfere with libido in both men and women.
In women, anxiety can worsen premenstrual symptoms, cause more painful and heavier periods, or miss a period. It can also reduce a woman’s chance of getting pregnant.
Sick?” And, yes, it probably is. Think about it – if you’re constantly anxious and stressed, your own body is really taking a toll.
Remember the FFF system? Being constantly agitated and your body often releases stress hormones during this response is actually
The Health Benefits Of Reducing Stress
Not only will you get sick more easily and often, but you’ll also have a harder time recovering because your body’s ability to fight infection and disease is compromised.
If you can recognize that your physical pain may be related to your anxiety, you have completed the first and most difficult step –
Once you know the root cause of these symptoms, try these 5 tips to help manage the physical symptoms of anxiety:
Being active regularly can improve your mental health. Your brain releases “feel good” chemicals.
Stress & Anxiety
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