No one likes to experience bouts of stress or anxiety -- and when it becomes a chronic occurrence, its impact can go from a little annoyance to a health hazard. Whether you're experiencing an isolated, high-stress situation or you're one of the 40 million Americans who suffer from anxiety disorder, your physical reaction to the emotion can affect you in more ways than you may have realized. Read on to discover how anxiety changes your body, whether it's your immediate reaction to stress or a long-term battle.
When the body first suffers from anxiety, you may experience...
Throat troubles. That croaky, squeaky voice that seems to have possessed your vocal chords is your immediate reaction to a stressful situation. When anxious feelings creep in,
Liver reactions. When the body undergoes stress and anxiety, the adrenal system produces an excessive amount of the stress hormone cortisol. That hormone production leads the liver to produce more glucose, the high-energy blood sugar that engages your "fight or flight" reactions. For most people, this extra blood sugar in the body can be simply reabsorbed with no real damage. However, for those at risk for diabetes, the extraneous blood sugar could potentially cause health issues.
Skin reactions. That cold, clammy sweat or your warm, flushed cheeks is the body's outward sign of immediate stress -- all due to a change in blood flow. When we experience anxiety, the body's "fight or flight" system pushes more blood to your muscles -- a useful reaction when there's an immediate need for it. However, a long-term, overexposure to this reaction has the potential to make the skin age faster. Other skin reactions include perspiration and even increases in histamine, which can result in swelling. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, severe stress and anxiety can also trigger eczema outbreaks.
An active spleen. Anxiety doesn't just engage the obvious organs like our brains and our hearts, but it even affects internal functions like our spleens and blood cells. In order to distribute more oxygen to the body that may have been depleted during the stressful situation, the spleen
Tense muscles. When you start to feel anxious, the body naturally tightens up, creating strain on large muscle groups. Chronic stress and anxiety can exacerbate this tension, which can result in headaches, stiff shoulders, neck pain and even migraines. People in a constant state of stress also are at a higher risk for chronic musculoskeletal disorders.
After a while, chronic anxiety can have an effect on...
Your heart. Anxiety and chronic stress sufferers are more at risk for cardiovascular problems due to a constant increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure and overexposure to cortisol. According to the American Psychological Association, long-term stress can also lead to hypertension, arrhythmias and an increased risk for heart attack or stroke.
Your lungs. Studies have shown that there is a relationship between those who suffer from anxiety disorders and asthma. People who suffer from asthma are also more likely to experience panic attacks. According to research conducted by the University of Sao Paulo, there could also be a link between anxiety, asthma and its effects on balance.
Your brain. The most prominent reaction to anxiety is the psychological response to the condition. Chronic stress and anxiety can
People who suffer from anxiety also often have trouble falling asleep due to ruminating over worrisome thoughts. Approximately 54 percent of people say stress and anxiety influences their ability to drift off and more than 50 percent of men and more than 40 percent of women have trouble focusing the next day as a result, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Your immune system. Exposure to stress can take a negative toll on the immune system, causing the function to become suppressed due to the body’s "fight or flight" reaction. Studies have also found that when you're stressed, you're also more likely to catch a cold and more susceptible to infections and inflammation.
Your stomach. When your body experiences stress, it doesn't properly regulate food digestion. Chronic and extreme stress can also have long-term effects on your intestines and what nutrients they absorb, causing reflux, bloating, diarrhea and sometimes even loss of bowel control.
Long-term stress and anxiety can also alter the body's metabolism, which could lead to weight gain and possibly obesity. One study found that the constant release of cortisol in the bloodstream can reduce insulin sensitivity, and other recent research also discovered an association between adults who suffer from anxiety and physician-diagnosed ulcers.
Article found at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/20/your-body-on-anxiety_n_5352548.html
Philippians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be known to God. And the peace of God which suprasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Matthew 10:19-20 "When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you."
Psalm 118:6 "The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?"
Isaiah 41:10 "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope."
Matthew 11:28-29 "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
Proverbs 31:25 "Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future."
Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
1 Peter 5:7 "Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you."
Romans 12:12 "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."
NOTE: I did not write this article. The link of where I got it is at the bottom of the article.
1. Write a list of your skills and knowledge. Write down things that you know logically that counter what the anxiety is telling you is truth. For example, “Statistically very few planes crash.” or “I can handle going in the store. I have done it before.” Or, for a child, “I know that my mother won’t forget to pick me up.” etc.
2. Read it 2-3 times a day for as long as the anxiety lasts. Then, when the anxiety comes you will be less afraid of it. Anxiety makes us forget what we know, making us vulnerable to believing its lies. Having read the list repeatedly, our knowledge and trust in ourselves will not falter. The information will be up front in our brain and assuage the anxiety.
3. Do some yoga and meditation. Even if your anxiety is from trauma, spending some time in your body rather than in your head is the best thing you can do to recover.
4. Exercise increases your endorphins. Walking is a win-win. Hormones are released from the bottom of your feet as you walk. Plus following through on a commitment to walk will build confidence, countering anxiety. Even better: walk with a friend. Connection counters anxiety.
5. Pinpoint contexts of stress in your life and figure out how to change them.This could seem impossible but we always have control over our response to problems. A counselor or a good friend might be helpful for this.
6. Try an alternative healing practitioner. For example, Ayurveda, acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, aroma therapy, shamanism, and massage therapy all have something to offer people with anxiety. It is also an action to care for ourselves by doing something new. Just the action empowers us, gives us confidence that we can do something and this alone helps.
7. Spend time with people. Chatting and laughing with others will help you feel more “normal.” You can see that fears are common and not feel so bad about yourself. Also, when many people are gathered there is often fun and laughter. You cannot laugh too much!
8. Have a routine. This is one of the best things you can do. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time everyday. Eat and exercise at the same time. Meditate at the same time everyday. This helps steady your mind, but also give confidence to your emotions. In other words you feel in control.
9. Never avoid doing things. Anxiety will build if it is winning. Contributing to others often takes us out of ourselves. Do something for someone else.
10. Practice affirmations. Often Anxiety puts pictures in our mind about how we are going to freak out in a certain situation. Change the picture. See it differently. See yourself calm and happy. Do this on purpose 2-3 times a day, especially when you are calm. Don’t wait until you are panicked to do this! You are retraining your mind to have new associations. Literally changing the cells in our brain, the way they accept peptides. Be patient. Keep it up. After a while you will notice a big difference.
There is unlimited ways you can help get over anxiety, which ways have you used?
By Jodi Lobozzo Aman
I'm a Christian counselor who loves to help people get to the root of their current problems so they can live from a place of authenticity and freedom!