3 Ways Anxiety Impacts Your Body

adult looking out over ocean, anxious

It’s easy to think of the ways anxiety can impact your mental and emotional states. When you suffer from anxiety, however, it can have physical effects on your body, too. 

For some, the crippling fear of anxiety can become so strong that it becomes hard to complete daily tasks. 

Keep in mind that everyone experiences anxiety from time to time, and the physical symptoms are often the same. Your heart rate can rise, you might feel short of breath, or even light-headed. 

If you have an anxiety disorder, though, the physical effects can last longer and become even more severe. Let’s look at three ways anxiety impacts your body when you’re struggling with it regularly. 

adult headache clutching head

1. Headaches

Headaches are a very common symptom of anxiety. There are a variety of reasons why the two are so often linked. Unfortunately, there’s also some confusion. People who have chronic headaches are more likely to suffer from anxiety. 

Yet, headaches can also be caused by anxiety. It’s a “which came first” situation that doesn’t exactly have a definitive answer. The most important thing to understand is that they are connected somehow, and anxiety can make headaches feel much worse. 

Tension headaches are one of the most common kinds of headaches, and most often linked to anxiety. When your body tenses up from anxiety (which is why you can experience muscle aches and pains, too), it can feel as though there’s a band around your head that is constantly tightening. This usually becomes worse when you’re experiencing an anxiety attack or panic attack. 

2. Nausea

Think about the last time you were worried about something. Did your stomach start to feel upset? Were you nauseous or afraid you might vomit? It’s a common physical problem for people suffering from anxiety. 

When you’re anxious, your body rapidly sends out hormones to different areas of the body, including the digestive system. A rush of those hormones to your digestive tract can cause problems like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and bloating. 

If you’re prone to stomach issues already or have a condition like irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety can cause your symptoms to flare up more frequently. 

It’s a good idea to talk to a doctor or specialist if you’re having digestive problems that are causing you to vomit or have diarrhea constantly. Anxiety may be the root cause, or it might be causing current conditions to become worse. But, problems like this can lead to dehydration or other health concerns without careful monitoring. 

3. Fatigue

Anxiety causes fatigue for a few different reasons. As mentioned, it often causes your body to tense up. When you’re constantly tense, your muscles are working overtime. The hormones inside your body are working hard, too, sending messages through your system. 

Anxiety is inherently exhausting! So, it’s normal (especially after a panic attack) to feel tired. 

Anxiety also can cause you to have problems sleeping at night. If you can’t let go of your feelings of doom and worry, it’s hard to get a restful night’s sleep. This can leave you constantly feeling tired and drained. It’s a vicious cycle that is difficult to break on your own. 

It isn’t hard for anxiety to completely take over every area of your life, including how your body responds. 

Thankfully, anxiety is manageable with the right treatment. If you’re struggling with any of these symptoms, or some of the mental and emotional effects of anxiety, don’t hesitate to contact me. Together, we can work on breaking the chains anxiety has locked over your life, so you can find freedom.