What are some signs that you may have anxiety?

We all worry. It’s a natural part of our infinitely imperfect and messy life. What’s not natural, however, is when we find ourselves in a constant state of worry. That kind of chronic anxiety can quickly dispatch our minds and bodies into a world of pain and misery if we’re not careful. So grab a pen and some paper and read on to see if any of the following signs and symptoms laid out by our mental health gurus apply to you.

Brent Metcalf

Brent Metcalf

Brent Metcalf is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker practicing at Tri-Star Counseling.

Irritability, Restlessness, and Physical Pain

Anxiety can look like a variety of things. It can look like intrusive thoughts regarding being worried about a certain issue, person, or activity. An individual may show signs of restlessness or feeling on edge. Irritability and grumpiness are also signs of anxiety.

Our body can tell us a lot about whether or not we are anxious. A lot of individuals with anxiety symptoms may experience chest tightening or pain, muscle tension, stomach aches, or headaches. Individuals with anxiety may have issues going to sleep or staying asleep due to racing thoughts about whatever may be stressing them.

Other symptoms may look like their mind going blank and having difficulty concentrating or staying on task, or being easily fatigued.

Constant ‘Fight-or-Flight’ Upsets Your Heart, Gut, and Mind

Anxiety is an emotion that everyone experiences at some point in their lives. For some people, however, anxiety can be a chronic condition that significantly impacts their quality of life. If you are worried that you may have anxiety, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms. Some common signs of anxiety include:

Feeling Restless or Agitated
Anxiety concentrates the thoughts on something that may, or may not happen. The adrenaline created by anxiety can make a person feel restless or anxious because it triggers muscle tension in some people and causes sick stomach sensations in others.

The body is going into “fight-or-flight” mode because it sees danger ahead. If the person facing their fear doesn’t know how to handle this, they will often continue to experience chronic levels of agitation and restlessness simply due to their physical reactions rather than due to external stressors like work deadlines or difficult family relations

Difficulty Sleeping or Insomnia
Anxiety can cause insomnia because it brings on physical reactions like muscle tension and a sick stomach, which can make it difficult to fall or stay asleep. Additionally, when someone is anxious, they may spend a lot of time lying in bed worrying about things, which only makes it harder to get rest.

Racing Heart or Chest Pain
Some people experience a racing heart or chest pain when they have anxiety. This is because the adrenaline created by anxiety can trigger these reactions.

Feeling Overwhelmed or Out of Control
Sometimes people have anxiety and are not quite aware that they do. With the four symptoms mentioned, it gets overwhelming to some people who may not even acknowledge their anxiety issues.

Anxiety causes one to feel overwhelmed because it takes up all the space (emotionally) or a particular situation or event seems too much to handle. It can be really hard to get out of bed or get through the day without crashing at some point during the process.

Sweating or Trembling
Anxiety produces and releases adrenaline, which causes the body to produce noticeably faster heart rates (to circulate more blood through it), an increased respiratory rate and respiration, shivering or shaking, sweating, or a clammy feeling because of an increase in perspiration.

These responses are normal physical reactions to stress – unless they become chronic – and help by increasing blood flow to your muscles. Too much anxiety can cause what’s known as hyperfocus: where everything you focus on becomes magnified. Hyperfocus combines with those other adrenaline responses (especially the racing heart) and leads to a sweaty or trembling appearance

Nausea or Vomiting
When a person is chronically anxious, they are constantly in a “fight or flight” mode, which means adrenaline will be pumping for an extended period. Studies have found that increased stress in regions of the brain called the amygdala (responsible for our feelings) and hippocampus (which helps with memory processing) can lead to nausea. The stomach irritation from chronic anxiety has also been linked to causing excessive energy expenditure – and thus, nausea or vomiting.

Too much worry can produce irritable bowel syndrome – a condition that triggers all sorts of digestive difficulties including constipation, diarrhea, gas, and indigestion – which makes it more likely that unwanted symptoms like nausea or vomiting will develop.

The key is not just managing pure anxiety but also managing the related bodily reactions, of which there are many possible types. Some people may experience one or two of these symptoms, while others may experience many.

If you experience any of these symptoms regularly, it is important to talk to your doctor about your concerns. Anxiety can be treated with medication and/or therapy, and there is no shame in seeking help.

Paul Schembri

Paul Schembri

Paul Schembri, owner and writer at Paulschembri.com.
Ashley Amor

Ashley Amor

Ashley Amor, Marketing Manager and Co-Founder of PeopleFindFast.

Just Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

A feeling of doom or dread, as if something disproportionately bad is going to happen. For example, you feel you’re going to be fired or audited and go to jail or your car is going to bottom out because the shocks have been squeaky. You are 10 steps ahead of your problems, already envisioning a worst-case scenario as if that’s a sure thing.

Feeling racy is a feeling of restlessness that washes over your body. You may also hear a ringing in your ears. You can’t get comfortable. You are on heightened alert. Adrenaline flows. Eventually, you crash.

Dead eyes or viewing the world like you’re a ghost. A feeling like you have a narrow vision and everything around you is just happening. You stare ahead and don’t SEE anything. You can’t see art, for example.

Trouble Sleeping, Irrational Fear, and Agitation

Trouble Sleeping
People typically need seven to nine hours of sleep, so when your sleep schedule suddenly starts to suffer, it can be a sign of anxiety. Anxiety can cause sleeping issues or make falling and staying asleep worse. It is also important to note that while sleeping disorders can be caused by anxiety, they too can cause anxiety.

Irrational Fear
Sometimes anxiety can be attached to a specific situation or thing such as birds or a crowd. This fear becomes irrational when it becomes disruptive, overwhelming, and way out of proportion compared to the actual risk. The fear can develop into a full-blown phobia, which is often an indicator of an underlying issue with anxiety.

Anxiety can cause a person’s nervous system to go into overdrive since your brain believes you are in danger. Reacting to this threat will kick off effects such as a racing pulse, sweaty palms, and dry mouth. The brain then draws blood from the digestive system and into the muscles in case you have to flee or fight. These effects are helpful in an actual threat, but random agitation without a threat can point to anxiety.

Kimberly Silva

Kimberly Silva

Kimberly Silva, the CEO of FindPeopleFirst.

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