Everyone, especially the elderly who experience anxiety know very well that it is not just intrusive and negative thoughts. The actual, physical symptoms one experiences can be extremely debilitating. Millions of people are suffering from anxiety, and given what’s on the news, with inflation, elections, pandemic and a war, how not to?
People suffering from chronic anxiety day-to-day will experience physical stress and damage to their bodies. Nothing is exempted. Respiratory, immune, cardiovascular and digestive systems for example are all negatively affected by excessive anxiety and stress. While it is normal to periodically experience anxiety, it can severely interfere with one’s quality of life.
Excessive anxiety can cause rapid heart rates, chest pain and raise the risk of coronary events like a stroke if not controlled. Don’t underestimate the effects of anxiety on your immune system as well. This is because anxiety or stress causes your body to produce and release chemicals like adrenaline into your immune system. When the stress is long term, your body cannot recover from it’s high adrenaline levels, taxing your body and your immune system. This will eventually leave you more vulnerable to illnesses like the flu during the winter.
1. Your Body Starts to Freeze
When you are suffering from chronic stress or anxiety, your body can tighten up and become too tense. Your facial muscles, jaws, legs and upper body will tighten up too much and you may feel stuck. When this suddenly happens, your limbs will feel like heavy rocks and it might seem impossible to actually move your body. These symptoms will exhaust you and prevent you from enjoying your daily activities. You will feel extremely tired without any energy to do the things you enjoy. If one has these symptoms, perhaps a slow calm walk, body stretching, Pilates, mild exercise or yoga will help loosen up the body.
2. You May Feel Confused And Dizzy
If you have too much anxiety, you might experience a sensation of the room spinning or closing in on you. This can further compound your feeling of nervousness and it needs to be treated immediately as these symptoms could manifest themselves at times where you least expect it, such as when driving or when you are walking in a public area.
To make this go away, perhaps try and mentally focus on your ground and feet first so that you could distract your mind from the spinning and confusion around you. First start with looking and noting your feet, and slowly work your way up your body by focusing on your thighs after 20 seconds, your waist, your tummy, hands, and so on.
3. You Might Feel Chest Tightness and Short Breath
You might experience a tight chest and rapid breathing when you are feeling nervous and anxious. This must not be taken lightly and is detrimental to your health as it could lead to a panic attack, or even worse, a cardiovascular event like a stroke if uncontrolled.
If you ever experience some symptoms, one tip to improve this is to consciously breathe, by inhaling through your nostrils in a controlled, long, and deep way. After that, you can slowly exhale through your mouth. Conscious breathing will help relax your nervous system and your heart, reduce your heart rate and blood pressure, and with 10-15 repetitions, you can quickly reduce your anxiety.
4. You Might Have Insomnia and Difficulty Sleeping
Falling asleep can be very difficult if you are worried about a lot of things. If it is a chronic issue, poor sleep can cause you to be overly tired, have a weaker immune system, have a poor appetite, and even have poor digestion like constipation. This is also bad for your career or if you need to drive often. One way to help relax your mind when you are trying to go to bed is to imagine your mind as completely blank. This will hopefully aid you in stopping your brain from being too active and thinking too much. Also, it is best if you could turn off the TV and phone as it is just a source of stress and blue light emanating from these devices will just worsen your insomnia by preventing melatonin production.