At one point in our lives, each one of us will experience anxiety, in one form or another. From nervousness about paying the monthly bills, to worries about driving during rush-hour traffic, this form of anxiety (called "situational anxiety") can often be anticipated, and coping skills developed to handle them. However, there's another type of anxiety, called "free floating anxiety" or "generalized anxiety", that is something entirely different. In this form of anxiety, there are no identifiable causes that contribute to the feelings of anxiety. With generalized anxiety, symptoms can suddenly appear out of the blue with no apparent cause, even during seemingly normal activities such as shopping, or sitting at home watching TV. Thankfully, your mind and body have ways of alerting you that there may be a problem. Regardless of which type of anxiety you may have, the 5 following symptoms are important to be aware of.
Stress or tension headaches are the most common form of headaches. This type of headache is best described as a constant pressure on both sides of the head. While the science behind stress headaches is not well understood, it is nonetheless a useful barometer in measuring how stressed you are.
2. Stomach Pain
Many of my clients state that they notice their stomach starts to hurt when their anxiety and stress begins to increase. This can take the form of a constant stomach ache, or an episodic pain that occurs when the anxiety provoking event is present.
3. Chest Pain
It's not uncommon to feel pressure on your chest when you're stressed or anxious. When you notice that you're feeling this way, take slow deep breaths, hold them for a few moments, and exhale slowly. Changing our mental focus and becoming aware of our breathing is a great way to become more self aware of what our body needs.
4. Shortness Of Breath
Sometimes when anxiety and stress reach their peak, shortness of breath can often accompany it. Many clients find it more difficult to breathe, and often say that their breathing becomes short, and shallow. It is important to be mindful of our breathing, and if we begin to notice a difference in the pattern, to respond with the technique mentioned above.
5. Lack Of Concentration
Another common complaint is the inability to concentrate. Not being able to focus on the task at hand also tends to contribute to fears of failing, or otherwise feeling incapable of complete tasks, which, in turn, contributes to the downward spiral of anxiety.
When anxiety symptoms begin to interfere with your normal day-to-day functioning, it is time to seek professional help. Leaving anxiety untreated can significantly interfere with your quality of life, and hamper both your professional and personal happiness.
The good news is, there are plenty of proven-effective ways of regaining control over your anxiety. If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety and stress, please consider scheduling an appointment with me, and together we can work on reclaiming your life.
Call me today at 615-982-5710.
Ginger Poag MSW, LCSW