While the cause of anxiety is mainly mental, it manifests physically through the changes that our bodies undergo when we start to feel anxious. The bigger our anxiety gets, the more pronounced the physical changes will be. Often it is those physical impacts that have the most significant negative impact on our health and our quality of life. Attempting to reduce both the frequency and severity of anxiety experiences will have an immediate positive effect on the body.
Recognizing the physical manifestations of anxiety is essential. Think of them as warning signals. When you start to notice them, it’s time to get proactive about dialing your stress down. Let’s take a look at what you might experience on the physical side of anxiety.
Often your first sign of anxiety is that you’re having trouble sleeping. It may be harder to fall asleep with random thoughts running through your head. Or you may wake up in the middle of the night with worries.
Sweating and sweaty hands, in particular, are another sign that you’re getting anxious and stressed out. Listen to your body and work on calming down. Running your hands under slightly cool water can give you immediate relief, but it won’t help reduce your anxiety.
Pounding Heartbeat and Headache
As your anxiety and your stress level go up, you may start to notice a pounding heartbeat. Your body is pumping blood through your system to get ready for a fight or flight. With the increased adrenalin and higher blood pressure, you may also start to get a headache.
Nausea or Upset Stomach
Nausea and an upset stomach can be another physical symptom of anxiety. I’m sure you’ve experienced this at times when you were nervous about an exam or public speaking engagement. You know your anxiety is spiraling up when you start to feel extremely nauseous.
Fatigue and Weakness
Listen to your body. Being on high alert for long periods, as during anxiety attacks, is exhausting. Get extra rest when you can and don’t push yourself too hard.
As the level of anxiety rises, you’ll see some of these physical symptoms increase. You can quickly move from having trouble sleeping to full-blown insomnia. If it lasts for more than a couple of nights and your attempts to relax and reduce your anxiety level, it may be time to get professional help so you can rest.