How Anxiety Impacts the Body

Anxiety is something that so many people around the world deal with in their everyday life. Something as simple as a stressful test/presentation can cause anxiety. However, regardless of what one is anxious about, did you know that anxiety doesn’t just impact your mental health? It can have huge effects on your body too. That’s why taking the proper steps to help your anxiety is really important. 

Additionally, these anxiety symptoms can cause shallow, choppy breathing, which stimulates the release of more stress hormones and a downward spiral of agitation, perhaps culminating in an anxiety attack.

Some degree of anxiety is necessary – it’s built into our makeup for survival.  However, beyond that, anxiety can cause medical issues, emotional turmoil, and mental dysregulation. Thus, it is important to mitigate chronic anxiety so that life can be lived with greater ease and comfort and less worry and fear. Coming back to homeostasis is the goal.

Anxiety varies from person to person, so it can look different for everyone, and really just varies on the experiences and stressors in your life. Here are a few of the common anxiety disorders that can affect your body. 

  • Social Anxiety
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Panic Disorder

Some of the short-term effects that go hand in hand with anxiety include increased heart rate, which causes more blood flow in your brain. Although this may seem like a good thing, intense amounts of this can cause nausea and lightheadedness. But, in the long term, there are a lot more effects that anxiety can have on your body, which is why it is really important to work on ways to help it. 

There are many areas in the body that anxiety targets and affects. Here are a few:

Anxiety and the Central Nervous System: 

Anxiety and panic attacks can actually cause your brain to release stress hormones like cortisol regularly which can give you headaches, dizziness and cause things like depression or weight gain. 

Anxiety and the Cardiovascular System: 

As mentioned before, anxiety can also cause increased heart rate. But the effects it has on your cardiovascular system go further than that. It can also cause heart palpitations and chest pain. You may also be at an increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. If you already have heart disease, anxiety disorders may raise the risk of coronary events.

Anxiety and the Immune system:

If you consistently feel anxious and stressed or it lasts a long time, your body never gets the signal to return to normal functioning. This can weaken your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to viral infections and frequent illnesses. 

Lastly, besides all of the different and specific areas in your body that anxiety affects, it is important to note that it also causes things like headaches, muscle tension, sleep insomnia, depression, and social isolation. 

So yes, now we know, anxiety is like poison for our body, a little bit won’t kill you, but once you have a little more, it can be really toxic. But how do we help treat anxiety? There are so many different methods to help with anxiety, here are a few

Meditation

Breathwork

Yoga

Therapy 

Journaling

Consistent exercise

Getting enough sleep

With all of these tips out there, know that everyone is different and their ways of coping with anxiety are too. Something that works for one may not work for another and that is okay. At Body Positive Works, we believe that there is no separation between mind and body. As such, we take an integrative and holistic approach to treatment and recovery for individuals, and their families, struggling with anxiety. Body Positive Works is a one-stop shop offering integrated services and programs to support individuals in overcoming anxiety. We’ve brought everything together under one roof, providing expert practitioners in psychotherapy, reiki, yoga, and meditation to help reduce or mitigate anxiety. 

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