Is your mental well-being impacting your physical health?
Because anxiety is complex and different for everybody, there are many signs and symptoms of anxiety and stress that can go unrecognised. In fact, many people will attribute physical symptoms to other illnesses or even leave them unexplained, when they could be anxiety or stress-related. So here some physical symptoms you may recognise, which could mean you are living with more anxiety and stress than you realise:
1. Always feeling tired / low energy
Suffering from anxiety or stress overload, can cause fatigue. This is because, when constantly in the anxiety or stress response, your mind and your body are put under a lot of pressure and it can become physically exhausting. As well as this, stress and anxiety can interrupt normal sleeping patterns, adding to your fatigue.
2. Headaches and general aches and pains
Prolonged periods of stress and anxiety can manifest in the body in many different ways. When we feel stressed or anxious our bodies are tense, ready to react as we enter the fight or flight response. We may not realise this is what is happening at the time, but it is all going on under the surface. When our bodies are frequently tense, we begin to notice pains typically in the shoulders, neck, back and head. Some people will clench their jaw or grind their teeth in their sleep when stressed which can cause further aches and pains. More often than not, we don't attribute these physical pains to our mental state and look for something else to blame the aches on.
3. Upset stomach
If you persistently experience stomach pains, constipation or diarrhoea, or if you have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it is possible this could be linked to anxiety and or stress. There are many theories as to why anxiety and stress affect the stomach so much, but generally speaking, it is thought the constant flux in hormones released when entering into a state of stress or anxiety plays a huge part in your upset stomach. You may also experience cramps and feelings of nausea too, all of which can be very uncomfortable.
4. Being unwell often
Being unwell often means you may pick up colds frequently, or regularly feel under the weather. First and foremost, this is telling you your immune system is low, so once you have ruled out any medical reason for this it is worth considering your levels of stress and anxiety. When we spend a long time under stress and feeling anxious, as mentioned before our bodies are put through a lot. For example, the heart has to pump a lot harder and the body has to work double time to deal with the change in hormones we experience, all often done with not enough sleep. All of this can leave us very run down and we know that when we are run down, our immune system is low and we are susceptible to more illness and infection.
Other physical symptoms of stress and anxiety include:
chest pain and rapid heartbeat
loss of sexual desire and/or ability
nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear
cold or sweaty hands and feet
dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
shortness of breath
pins and needles
difficulty falling or staying asleep (insomnia)
So, if you recognise these symptoms in your day to day life, it may mean it's time to address your mental well-being to see if this helps your physical health. Hypnotherapy is the perfect tool for working with stress and anxiety. Not only can it work to alter the way you respond to anxiety or stress-inducing situations, it reinforces positive messages to build your self-esteem and confidence enabling you to take control and feel empowered when dealing with day to day stresses and strains. Even just the relaxing effect of hypnotherapy is extremely helpful when managing stress and anxiety and that alone can have a dramatic impact on your well-being and state of mind.
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About Emily Hughes
My name is Emily and I am a qualified hypnotherapist and counsellor working out of London, Canary Wharf and Essex. I specialise in taking a holistic approach to physical and mental wellness and my main areas of focus are stress, anxiety and low self-esteem.