Mental Health Help:
10 Anxiety Symptoms
There are many ways anxiety can affect our bodies and our mental health.
- Trouble sleeping
- Tired or fatigued
- Mood swings
- Panic attacks
- Irrational fears
- Obsessive thinking
- Rapid heart rate
- Digestive problems
In this blog post I am going to show you 10 anxiety symptoms to watch out for.
Breaking down each of them on how they could be affecting you.
PLUS : 3 bonus actionable steps that will help you ease the anxiety when it does occur.
Mental Health And Anxiety
Occasionally experiencing feelings of anxiety is a normal part of life. It’s your body’s way of responding to stressful events and telling you that you need to take a break. However, if the feeling continues and persists to a point where you are frequently restless and in a constant state of fear and worry, you may be suffering from an underlying anxiety disorder. Usually, these feelings of anxiety are episodic in nature and can be highly intense and last up to several minutes. Which is what you call an anxiety attack.
There are several anxiety symptoms and signs to watch out for your mental health. Being aware of these symptoms can help you avoid the problem from escalating by seeking help and finding ways to overcome anxiety-driven behaviour. However, most anxiety symptoms can be hard to detect. Often enough, certain anxiety symptoms can go unnoticed for a long time and impact both your physical and mental health without you even realizing.
Let’s take a look at the 10 most common anxiety symptoms you should look out for to better your mental health.
Table of Contents
Several research studies point to a direct correlation between sleep disturbances and anxiety disorder. If you notice that you are waking up in the middle of the night for no reason and then having trouble falling back asleep, this may be a sign of anxiety. A lot of scientific data suggests that those who suffer from insomnia in childhood have a 60% increased risk of developing some form of anxiety disorder as an adult. Although it is unclear whether or not sleep disturbances contribute to the development of anxiety or vis versa, the strong connection between the two has been confirmed by multiple research studies. Moreover, treatment of anxiety disorders has been found to improve sleep in patients considerably, which helps mental health.
Worrying is probably one of the most common signs of an underlying anxiety disorder. However, it is also the most difficult to detect particularly because it is often overlooked as a normal response to everyday life situations. With that said, however, for worrying to be considered as an anxiety symptom, it is necessary for the symptom to persist for at least 6 months. If you notice that you are worrying excessively and it is preventing you from accomplishing everyday tasks you may need to seek help.
Even though restlessness is normal in most cases, it may be a sign of an underlying anxiety disorder if it continues to persist for longer durations of time. Restlessness is basically the state of being ‘on edge’ or feeling agitated. Most teenagers and young adults show restlessness and it is often diagnosed as anxiety symptoms, if the behavior continues for at least 6 months. Not being able to concentrate, sit still and feeling agitated can all be responses unaddressed feelings of anxiety.
Feeling Tired Or Fatigued
Feeling tired or unmotivated are also considered as strong signs of anxiety. Most people find this quite surprising, particularly because anxiety is associated with feelings that are quite the opposite and predominantly characterized by hyperactivity. However, a substantial amount of research suggests that prolonged feelings of tiredness and fatigue are directly associated with an underlying anxiety disorder. Do note, however, these symptoms are also common in people who suffer from depression and only a medical professional should make the distinction.
Irritability & Mood Swings
Irritability is another fairly common form with anxiety symptoms that can affect your mental health. In fact, this goes hand in hand with mood swings. Since anxiety is characterized by hyperactivity and high arousal, irritability is very easily noticeable. You may also notice that you feel ‘on edge’ when you’re irritable, similar to what you would experience if you were restless. Moreover, if your anxiety is at its peak, or if you are experiencing a particularly difficult episode, you’d start notice that you get irritable very quickly.
Panic attacks are basically characterized as intense feelings of anxiety. It’s an episode in which your normal anxiety symptoms escalate to a very intense level where you may experience shortness of breath, extreme fear and the feeling of impending doom. This is usually accompanied by a pounding heart and sweating. In more extreme cases, you may also experience nausea. This episode can last for several minutes. If you experience an episode where you have symptoms similar to a panic attack, you may need to seek professional help since this may point to an undiagnosed anxiety disorder.
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Experiencing Irrational Fears
Normally, these anxiety symptoms that are often overlooked because it’s common for people to have irrational fears, such as being afraid of spiders or closed spaces. However, if the irrational fear interrupts the normal everyday functions of your life and prevents you from accomplishing daily tasks, you may have an anxiety problem. Common irrational fears associated with anxiety include being afraid of using public transport, being afraid of crowds, open spaces, etc.
Another hard-to-detect mental health reaction in this group of anxiety symptoms, is an obsessive thought pattern. Obsessively thinking about the same things over and over again may point to an underlying anxiety problem. You may notice that your thoughts are becoming intrusive and preventing you from focusing on anything other than a specific issue that’s occupying your mind.
Rapid Heart Rate
A rapid heartbeat coupled with sweating, heavy breathing and a dry mouth are all anxiety symptoms. In fact, a rapid heart rate is common during panic attacks where the body experiencing intense feelings of fear. The body’s natural fight or flight response is triggered as a result. More often than naught, this is closely associated with gastrointestinal problems as well.
Anxiety symptoms can be seen in several gastrointestinal problems. These may include constipation, gas or in some cases diarrhea. As mentioned earlier, if you are experiencing anxiety, your body will automatically enter into a fight or flight mode whereby the blood supply would automatically be limited to the digestive track and directed to your heart and muscles in case you need to run. However, in the case of anxiety, this can end up blocking your normal digestive process. Moreover, it is fairly common for people to experience nausea and digestive problems during a panic attack.
How Do You Know For Sure If It Is Anxiety?
A lot of the symptoms related to anxiety are overlooked or simply ignored because they are hard to distinguish from normal responses you would otherwise have in everyday life. For example, in a stressful situation, it’s not uncommon to feel anxious or fearful. So, how can you know for sure whether you have anxiety or not? And whether or not you should seek out professional help? Because in most cases seeking out professional help is important in order to prevent your existing symptoms from escalating because they can eventually lead to the development of future health-problems.
If you feel anxious for longer durations of time or if your symptoms continue for over a 6-month duration, it is highly recommended that you seek professional help immediately. Moreover, even if the symptoms are fairly new and you feel like they are preventing you from functioning normally, it is probably best to get in touch with a professional who could offer help. Remember that it anxiety is quite different from regular everyday life stress. While stress may linger for a while in the wake of a tight deadline or something that is bothering you, anxiety stays and doesn’t fade that easily. Anxiety is a sustained mental health issue that can ultimately cause significant social, physical and emotional problems. Therefore, if you notice that your anxiety symptoms are ongoing for longer durations, be sure to get in touch with a health expert.
3 Ways To Ease Anxiety Symptoms When They Occur
Several research studies have pointed out the importance of exercising and maintaining a healthy diet in helping ease anxiety related symptoms. If you find or someone you know is experiencing anxiety symptoms, here are three ways you can use that may help:
There are countless benefits of regular exercise. It’s immensely important for your mental health. In fact, it has been found to reduce stress significantly. If you cannot follow a strict work-out regimen, start off by committing to 20 minutes of exercise alone. And if that still feels like too much of a burden, experts suggest that a even 10 minute brisk walk can do wonders for your mental health. The point is to move your body daily because exercise reduces the stress hormone in your body, i.e. cortisol. Don’t be overwhelmed with the idea of having to commit to a proper exercise plan, simply start off by making an effort to move your body every day. With time, you can improve your routine by including different exercises that suit you well.
Maintaining A Healthy Diet
This goes hand in hand with regular exercise. Be sure to maintain a diet that includes lots of healthy vegetables, fruits and protein. Choose high-quality protein sources such as meat, fish, whole grains, nuts, etc. While diet alone is not sufficient in order to cure your anxiety symptoms, it can certainly add to your overall state of well-being and improve your body and mind’s ability to manage and respond to stress.
Journaling & Meditation
Journaling and meditation are two additional great ways of reducing stress and helping ease anxiety related symptoms. Keeping a journal is a great way of gaining control of your emotions and feelings. By writing down your thoughts and feelings in your journal, you can gain a better understanding of yourself and your trigger factors. Similarly, meditation is another great tool you can use to ease anxiety symptoms. By creating a space between yourself and whatever it is that you are experiencing, you can make it easier for your brain to process complex emotions and feelings and help soften the stress.
Now I Would Love To Hear From You
Having anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of, WHO says that over 300,000,000 people worldwide are affected by this mental health struggle.
What anxiety symptoms do you see happening in yourself?
Comment below if you use one of the three ways to ease anxiety, to inspire others to try them as well.