So What Role Does Your Mental Health Actually Play In Terms Of Your Physical Well
Before you can even begin to understand how anxiety affects the rest of your body, it’s important to have a general understanding of what anxiety even is. Scientifically speaking, Laura Rubin, Ph.D, a licensed clinical psychologist at Portsmouth Neuropsychology Center in New Hampshire, tells Elite Daily that anxiety is a neurobiological response that happens when your body goes into fight-or-flight mode. In other words, when a situation feels weird or off-putting to you, or a person is coming off really shady or untrustworthy, your brain picks up these cues, causing your nervous system to react.
And, according to Dr. Danielle Forshee, LLC, a doctor of psychology and licensed clinical social worker, when you feel overly anxious or stressed, itâs natural for your body to respond. In fact, she tells Elite Daily, itâs a chemical reaction that sparks these physical ailments, because chronic stress and anxiety can cause your body âto release adrenaline,â she explains, which suggests that, on top of feeling mental stress and anxiety, your physical well-being is going to react, too.
Ways Anxiety Is Impacting Your Physical Health
- May 04, 2018
- 5 minute read
The human brain and body are designed to handle one-off anxiety reactions like a champ. The body gets flooded with chemicals such as the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which prepare you for a fight or flight response. Resources such as blood flow are diverted to areas of the body that prime us for action.
Its common to feel keyed up during these moments, as heart rate, sweating, and muscle tension increase. As soon as the threat has passed, the chemicals discharge and we return back to a normal, balanced state. From this perspective tied to running away from predatory animals in the early days of human life anxiety is not only normal, its a healthy adaptive response designed to keep us safe.
Nowadays, anxiety still plays an important role, but more often than not our stressors are more psychological in nature think work, money, relationships. Our response to these triggers is still largely a physical one. As a result, chronic anxiety, particularly for the 40 million Americans who live with an anxiety disorder, means our heightened anxiety response never quite calms back down. And this wreaks havoc on our well-being. How?
With this in mind, here are nine ways anxiety impacts your physical health.
What To Do When Work Stress Makes You Sick
High-pressure jobs can create psychological stress that is severe enough to have physical effects, from chronic headaches to nausea to insomnia. Severe stress has even been known to cause strokes. If we find ourselves in the kind of job that is resulting in a hit to our health, we must take intentional steps to better our body and mind. First, try to identify the source of your stress. At the onset of your physical symptoms, write down whats happening to you and around you. Second, make sure youre getting enough exercise and mental downtime, voicing your concerns to others, and setting healthy boundaries. Finally, if none of these things seem to be working, consider finding a new job.
Alyson was 35 when she had a stroke.
The ambitious attorney awoke one morning unable to move, the left side of her body paralyzed. She was due in court later that day, so before calling for help, she reached for her phone and dialed her assistant.
The stroke was the match in the powder barrel. For days, Alyson had ignored the warning signs, including ringing in her ears, visual impairments, and exhaustion. Her doctors had trouble pinpointing the source of her stroke after all, the vast majority occur in those over 65 but they all offered their best guess: stress.
So if we find ourselves in the kind of job that is resulting in a hit to our health, we must take intentional steps to better our body and mind.
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What Happens With Excessive Worrying
Worrying is feeling uneasy or being overly concerned about a situation or problem. With excessive worrying, your mind and body go into overdrive as you constantly focus on “what might happen.”
In the midst of excessive worrying, you may suffer with high anxiety — even panic — during waking hours. Many chronic worriers tell of feeling a sense of impending doom or unrealistic fears that only increase their worries. Ultra-sensitive to their environment and to the criticism of others, excessive worriers may see anything — and anyone — as a potential threat.
Chronic worrying can affect your daily life so much that it may interfere with your appetite, lifestyle habits, relationships, sleep, and job performance. Many people who worry excessively are so anxiety-ridden that they seek relief in harmful lifestyle habits such as overeating, cigarette smoking, or using alcohol and drugs.
Can Anxiety Cause Nausea
Most of us know that nauseous feeling you get before a big event. Even if its a happy situation, like a wedding, we still feel ill.
Everyone suffers from anxiety at some point in their lives. Kids often have anxiety before a big test at school. This kind of anxiety is normal and only lasts a few days.
Recently, Coronovirus Anxiety has swept the world. Coronavirus anxiety counseling services are popping up from reputable therapists.
But for some people, anxiety is a familiar feeling all the time. It might stick around for weeks, even months and years.
The longer you feel anxiety, the worse it becomes. It can affect your daily life, and even your physical health. This type of anxiety is actually a disorder, and it affects more than 40 million adults in America.
If you always feel under the weather, you could be suffering from anxiety. Keep reading to answer the question Am I sick, or is it anxiety?
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What To Do If Youre Experiencing Tension Headaches:
- Apply a cold compress or a heating pad to your head. Either hot or cold temperatures can help alleviate symptoms.
- Rub your hairline and temples with peppermint essential oil or tiger balm. Both have been found to be comparable treatment to medications like aspirin.
- Consider working with a therapist who specializes in biofeedback and/or relaxation techniques.Both of these approaches have been found to reduce frequency and intensity of tension headaches. Therapists who specialize in the physical manifestations of mindset or chronic illnesses are trained to help clients listen more to their bodies, decipher their bodies signs, and prioritize comfort.
Getting Sick When You Dont Treat Depression Or Anxiety
You can heal your depression and anxiety. Usual treatment involves medication, behavior changes, and psychotherapy. And if your treatment combines all these modalities, you increase your chances of treatment success. However, stigma, lack of knowledge, lack of resources, etc., keep many sufferers of these disorders away from treatment.
The risks untreated depression and anxiety pose make this particularly unfortunate. Make no mistake. Your put your physical health at risk by not treating your depression or anxiety. You may make yourself truly sick.
Sleep Deprivation. Disrupted sleep commonly goes with depression and anxiety. Whether you struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep, disrupted sleep triggers a host of other problems. These include ongoing insomnia, headaches, increased stress, and impaired immunity.
Immunity Impairment. The reason 7-9 hours of sleep nightly is important is for the restorative functions that happen during sleep. Sleep deprivation interrupts production of a variety of substances essential for immune system effectiveness. This leaves your body less able to fight off illness.
Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure. Research well established the connection between depression and heart disease. Increasingly, research shows that anxiety and heart disease and high blood pressure are linked, too.
Anxietynausea: What’s The Cause
If you’re struggling with nausea from being anxious, you don’t have to deal with it alone. Most people wouldn’t connect tummy troubles to worry, but feeling nauseous can be a very real and distressing side effect of stress. You deserve to lead a life free of the distress caused by this condition. When you’re feeling peaceful, you’re living your best life.
Youre Having Digestive Issues But Your Diet Hasnt Changed
Theres a reason why stressful situations are called gut-wrenching. The brain and the gastrointestinal system are intimately connected meaning the more stressed out your brain is, the unhappier your stomach will get.
Signs that your stomach isnt handling extra stress well include:
- Stomach bloating
- Nausea or queasiness
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You Feel Tightness In Your Chest For No Apparent Reason
Feeling any abnormality in your chest will probably be a red flag for you. Sometimes, though, the pressure creeps in slowly. It might seem normal after a while.
What youll recognize is a tightness in your chest. Its not uncommon to experience shortness of breath and intense pressure on your chest like an elephant is sitting on it.
How To Support Mental & Physical Health
Stress is an unavoidable part of life. You’re never going to be able to get rid of it completely, but it’s important to find ways to manage it and to increase your body’s resilienceor ability to handle stress. When you do, you may find that your physical symptoms start to dissipate, or even go away completely.
Here are some things you can do to support both your mental well-being and physical health:*
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Identifying And Easing Anxiety
It’s possible to become so fixated on the physical effects from your anxious state that you don’t even realize you were anxious to begin with, says Dr. Barsky. So, how do you know if anxiety is causing your symptoms? And if it is, how can you feel better? Dr. Barsky offers some tips to help you interrupt this cycle.
Stop and assess. “The first step is to pause for a second and observe what’s going on with your body,” says Dr. Barsky. Think about what you are experiencing and whether it relates to a feeling of emotional upset or a reaction to something alarming or stressful. If your symptoms followed a stressful event or period of time, it’s possible these emotions triggered your symptoms. Also, be alert to signs that you are tensing your muscles, which can also indicate a stress reaction.
Relax your body or work it. To relieve stress, try some deep breathing or relaxation exercises. There are numerous online resources and smartphone apps that can help guide you through relaxation techniques. Physical activity can also help you relieve tension. Try to squeeze in a daily walk or a run.
Reassure yourself. If you believe your symptoms are being caused by anxiety, reassure yourself that what you are experiencing is not harmful or fatal. “They’re not serious, and they don’t signal an impending medical disaster,” says Dr. Barsky. The symptoms will pass when the anxiety eases.
The Concerning Symptoms Of Anxiety And The Anxiety Loop
When stress hits and your heart rate increases, your breathing quickens or you start trembling, it can be alarming. So alarming that, in some cases, you might even feel anxiety about your anxiety symptoms. This can lead to a worsening of the anxiety you’re already feeling.
When anxiety hits, try to calm yourself with these tips:
- Take deep, controlled breaths
- Close your eyes and try to clear your mind
- Release tension from your body by relaxing
- Accept your anxiety, challenge the validity of your concern and try to shift your focus
If your symptoms become severe, including chest pain and/or shortness of breath, seek immediate medical attention at an emergency room even if you think it’s related to anxiety.
And, if you’re experiencing general anxiety more frequently than usual, consider talking to your doctor or finding a mental health provider especially if it’s disrupting your day-to-day life. He or she can help you understand why anxiety happens and what to do about it.
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Anxiety Symptoms To Know
1. Stomach distress: Anxiety and stress can cause stomach pain and well as other digestive disturbances like diarrhea. Prolonged stress has also been linked to ulcers. So how can you tell if nausea is from anxiety? If youve been experiencing noticeable nausea and you arent showing any symptoms of illness or flu, its time to see your doctor.
2. Sleep disturbance: Insomnia, inability to get to sleep and waking frequently are all common responses to anxiety. Of course, poor sleep has its own side effects like extreme fatigue, foggy thinking, and weakening your immune system.
3. Heart & breathing issues: Anxiety can cause rapid breathing, shortness of breath, a rapid heartbeat, dizziness, and lightheadedness. It can also aggravate asthma. Of even greater concern is that studies have also found links between anxiety and an increase in heart disease, heart failure, and stroke among older adults.
4. Muscle pain & headaches: Tense muscles may help you spring into action in the face of danger, but prolonged tension leads to pain. Prolonged or repeated periods of stress and anxiety can lead to back pain, neck pain, chest pain and more. They can also be a root cause of recurring headaches and migraines.
5. Sweats, shakes or chills: Constant jolts of adrenaline and cortisol can also cause you to feel sweaty or shaky, feel overheated or chilled, and even feel numbing or tingling sensations.
How Anxiety Can Threaten Your Health
In our world today, the need for good anxiety, as in a fight or flight response, is rare. Unfortunately, whats all too common is bad anxiety. The kind that causes serious anxiety disorders that require a doctors attention. And if youve ever wondered, does anxiety make you sick? the answer is absolutely. Everyone gets anxious from time to time, but when anxiety becomes prolonged and constant, it not only interferes with living your best life, but it can also make you physically ill.
The frequent release of fight or flight hormones can have serious long-term health effects. In some cases, it can also lead to other problems like alcohol or substance abuse if a person tries to self-medicate to relieve serious, unmanaged anxiety symptoms. This article answers concerns about recognizing anxiety and how to stop feeling sick from anxiety.
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Is Anxiety Bad For You
A little anxiety is fine, but long-term anxiety may cause more serious health problems, such as high blood pressure . You may also be more likely to develop infections. If youre feeling anxious all the time, or its affecting your day-to-day life, you may have an anxiety disorder or a panic disorder.