Anxiety can arise at any time for any number of reasons and can be debilitating to both mind and body. In this article, we identify 12 symptoms of anxiety, as well as some tips to help manage them.
Stress and anxiety can be difficult to identify since life is filled with stressful situations every day, circumstances in which we are expected to deal with and recover from without any impact to our overall wellbeing. Sometimes, life can get too much, however, so it’s important to recognize when stress is seriously affecting you, and learn how to manage anxiety.
Stress and worries can keep the brain in a heightened state of alert during the day, and as such, make it difficult for us to “switch off” at night, and subsequently remain in that deep sleep for us to get those essential eight hours in. A broken or little amount of sleep could mean anxiety is keeping you from a good night’s rest.
It follows that if anxiety is keeping you up at night, then your body won’t be getting the rest that it needs. Our muscles and brains must get the opportunity to rest and recover through a good amount of unbroken rest. But if not, feelings of fatigue will mentally and physically arise.
Changes in Appetite
Many people might associate a loss of appetite with anxiety, and while it certainly is, the opposite extreme can be a symptom too. A major change in appetite, whether it’s suddenly eating a lot or barely a little over several days, can be a stress-indicator as your body tries to cope under the mental strain.
The hippocampus is one of the most sensitive areas in the body to stress, which can alter its synaptic plasticity and ability to function. (1) The hippocampus is responsible for regulating our personality and emotional behavior, as well as memory.
As such, in times of anxiety, you can have yourself plunging from high-highs to low-lows and back again. Not only that, but you may find memory function slightly impaired – in this case, tips to improve memory will prove useful.
Chronic Muscle and Joint Pain
With our highly developed ‘fight or flight’ response, the body responds to ongoing stress by being ready to execute this response when needed. If you’re constantly stressed, the body will tense up the muscles in readiness – keeping the muscles highly strained will lead to injury and chronic pain that becomes hard to ignore.
Feelings of Restlessness
Because of how stress affects the hippocampus, feelings of worry can soon turn into feelings of restlessness with an inability to concentrate for sustained periods. Brain health supplements and diet can help manage this (as we’ll mention further below).
Higher Blood Pressure
With all of the physical problems mentioned so far, your heart will need to circulate more blood around the body to try and repair the damage done. You may feel your blood pressure rising when anxiety attacks, whether that involves a sudden rush of blood to the head or a noticeable feeling of a pounding heart.
High blood pressure is one thing, but should you be feeling anxious, small, but identifiable aches in the heart can indicate an oncoming panic attack or an associated episode of anxiety. (2)
Feeling snappy or agitated by things that wouldn’t ordinarily upset you is another symptom of anxiety. A recent study of over 6,000 adults saw that more than 90% of those with a general anxiety disorder reported feeling “highly irritable.” (3)
Being in a constant state of stress and worry means the mind will rarely be in a relaxed state, so it’s no surprise that headaches are a symptom of anxiety. The Clarity Clinic states that tension headaches are common for those struggling with stress, and describes them as “a heavy head, migraine, head pressure, or feel like there is a tight band wrapped around their head.”(4)
Stress creates extra hormones, elevated heart rate, and increased blood sugar, all swirling around the body at once, constantly throughout the day. This can create complications for your digestive system, and make your stomach find it difficult to digest its meals properly. Look out for issues in this area if they persist for several days.
Tips to Overcome Anxiety and Depression
There are a few ways to get started in overcoming any feelings of anxiety and depression you might have. Some of these tips include:
- Exercise: well noted as an effective treatment here, even just five minutes of aerobic exercise produces chemicals that reduce stress. (5)
- Therapy: therapy looks at our emotional responses to stressful situations, allowing identification and alteration of thought patterns that might trigger deep anxiety. (6)
- Meditation: meditation allows time for reflection and an opportunity for you to clear the mind. Try 15 minutes a day, and develop a method that works for you.
- Improved Diet and Nutrition: this plays an important role in helping manage anxiety, since eating well can help maintain more consistent blood sugar levels, and lower blood pressure, resulting in a calmer feeling throughout the day. (7)
- Supplements: Many symptoms associated with anxiety are a result of chemical changes within the body. Memory supplements such as Neuriva can help equalize the subsequent imbalance. Looking at a Neuriva review shows how these supplements can be great for memory, focus, and concentration.
Anxiety can show itself in several ways, but there are luckily just as many methods to help manage it. Identification is the first step to recovery, so be aware of the signs, and you will find yourself in a better position to restore your physical and mental well-being.