What, me worry? How your body reveals anxiety
You think you’re cruising nicely through life, handling everything that’s coming your way, but you can’t seem to kick those stomach cramps. You’ve changed your eating habits, but that uncomfortable feeling is still there. Meanwhile, your co-worker is being a real pain in the…
Did you ever stop to think that the two might be connected?
While we put our heads down and power through our busy lives, we’re very often sweeping stress under the rug. We either don’t acknowledge what is causing us anxiety or don’t even realize the true cause. When we don’t deal with the root of our issues, anxiety has a funny way of finding an outlet, often manifesting in physical problems such as tense muscles or grinding teeth.
Common physical symptoms of anxiety can include:
Your heart racing or pounding
Sweating or trembling
Shortness of breath
Why am I always anxious?
We all worry about things like work, money, relationships, and family from time to time. Another big worry is facing change. As Garth Algar once said: “We fear change.”
Whether it’s prompted by a forced career switch or a relationship breakdown, Centr psychotherapist Alexis Naim explains fear of change is not unusual: “For most of us, change creates anxiety. We worry about the potential outcomes. We loop in our minds, fearing that we won’t be able to handle what’s coming. In times of change, it is so easy to move towards pessimistic thoughts and worries.”
However, when these not-unusual fears and worries go unchallenged, they can mutate into a general feeling of anxiety, not clearly linked to the original cause – until you’re really forced to clean out what’s hidden under that rug.
Don’t worry, here's how to take action:
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America breaks down its tips for dealing with anxiety into three categories: mind, body, and action. We’ve followed their lead to give you three practical methods to combat anxiety.
1. Immerse yourself in meditation
Ally Bogard’s Quick Anxiety Relief meditation is one of many on Centr that will help you breathe, stabilize, self-soothe and keep your mind in the present – not wallowing in the past or worrying about the future.
Ally offers a mantra in this meditation that can be used to bat away anxious thoughts as they arise: “I can get through this moment.”
Head to the Explore section of the app to find more go-to anxiety busters like this that you can return to at any time, as well as sleep visualizations that will help you get the extra rest you need during periods of stress.
2. Exercise daily
Folks may joke about taking it out on a punching bag, but giving yourself over to a workout like Luke Zocchi's upper-body workout, Tahl Rinsky’s stress-relieving yoga moves or Michael Olajide Jr’s fat-burning combinations can really deliver a positive change in your energy. Exercise releases happy-making endorphins and builds resilience to face all types of challenges in life.
By maintaining your health and fitness, you’re also more likely to notice when something (your gut, for instance) is a little bit off.
3. Name it to train it
Before you rush out to buy herbal cures or your dental bills go through the roof, take the time to mindfully acknowledge your anxieties – a process Alexis calls “name it to train it.”
“Little by little, with gentle observation we can train the brain away from persistent mental activity about the future, the past, our worries... and come to inhabit the present moment,” Alexis says.
You might achieve this through a practice of mindfulness or meditation, by talking to friends or a professional, or by noting your anxious moments in a journal then, as the ADAA suggests, looking for patterns.
Pinpointing the true cause of your anxiety is the first step towards wishing it bon voyage.
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