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The Physical Symptoms of Anxiety (And How To Cope With Them)

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million adults in the United States suffer from an Anxiety Disorder every year.

Anxiety is so prevalent in today’s world, with all of the pressure to succeed, current events, and just trying to get by in our day to day lives. It can be devastating to cope with from a mental standpoint.

One thing that I think is often forgotten when talking about anxiety disorders, is the wide range of physical symptoms that can emerge along with the mental and emotional. These can be just as upsetting as other symptoms; and I want to shed some light on what these symptoms are and some things we can do to try to soothe them.

I personally struggle with some of these symptoms, and everything I’ll include here has worked for me in my personal life.

1. Headaches

This one is a big one for me, personally, so I have experience with a lot of the remedies that help. My first line of defense against a headache when I’m feeling anxious is one (large) bottle of Gatorade. Dehydration can cause and/or worsen a headache. So I’ll drink a bigger bottle, and sometimes that helps to take the edge off.

I’ve also found that Binaural Beats can be really calming and soothing for headaches. Listening for 10-15 minutes usually helps to take the edge off of mine. Note: These definitely have more of an effect using headphones.

2. Feeling like your heart is pounding

I used to have a very hard time with this one. It can feel scary and it’s absolutely distracting when it’s happening. But there are some things that help that feeling ease and pass quicker.

Grounding yourself and mindfulness exercises can be helpful with this. I’ll link a great grounding exercise I’ve used many times below.

5-4-3-2-1 Coping Technique for Anxiety

Breathing exercises can also be extremely beneficial for that heart-pounding feeling. My personal favorite breathing exercise to do is 4-7-8 breathing; so inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. I’ll usually repeat this 6 or 7 times. When I find my anxiety is getting worse, I’ll try to make a routine of it, doing it at least once daily, even if I’m not in the heat of that anxious moment, and it does help.

3. Tension in the muscles, particularly around the neck and shoulders

Epsom salt baths are amazing for muscle soreness. If you’re able to soak in the tub for a while and relax, they can really help to ease tension and make your body feel a bit better and more loose.

Following a Guided Body Scan meditation can also be helpful. In the meditation, you’re guided through relaxing each part of your body from top to bottom, or vice versa. As you scan each area of your body for tension, you release it as you go. This is also helpful if you’re having trouble relaxing at bed time.

4. Insomnia

Magnesium has helped me with Insomnia a lot, and there are many others who have experienced the same while using it. If anxious thoughts or a racing mind have a tendency to keep you up at night, I’d definitely look into this one.

Journaling is so beneficial for insomnia caused by anxiety because you’re able to write, and let it all go. Something that I’ve found helpful is “free writing” a little while before bedtime. Pick up your journal, and don’t worry about formatting it, how it looks, just write whatever is popping into your head. Take as long as you need to finish it.

5. Feeling a “lump” in your throat

This one is a tough one to get rid of for a lot of people. I personally like to keep a bottle of water with me to drink every so often to keep that feeling at bay.

If you’re suffering with anxiety symptoms often or you feel that they’re interfering with your daily life, it’s always best to consult with a doctor as well.

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