Many people think that anxiety and excessive stress only impact the mind.
But your body and your mind are so intertwined that anxiety can actually make you feel physically sick.
In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to misinterpret the symptoms of anxiety for a simple cold or a stomach ache. Anxiety and stress are stealthy. This can make it tricky to know what’s what. You might not even realize what’s happening. All you know is that you don’t feel well.
So here are a few signs to watch for when it comes to your body and dealing with excessive stress.
1. You Consistently Have a Hard Time Fighting Off Bugs
Anxiety weakens the immune system. So it might seem like you’re battling every bug of the season.
What could really be happening is that excessive stress has lowered your defenses. Excessive stress and anxiety will often mask themselves as random sicknesses.
2. Your Stomach is Often Upset No Matter What Foods You Eat
It’s only natural that some foods upset your stomach. What isn’t natural is to have an upset stomach no matter what you ate at mealtime.
Anxiety has a tendency to make your stomach turn upside down and feel topsy-turvy a lot of the time; though, it’s a little more intense than the typical “butterflies” you have when you’re nervous.
3. You Don’t Have a Healthy Appetite
Because anxiety and excessive stress can activate your sympathetic nervous system, you can easily get stuck in a constant state of “fight-or-flight.”
It’s unnatural to eat when this part of your nervous system is activated, so your appetite might disappear altogether. You might catch yourself missing meals or you may have to remind yourself to eat.
4. Certain Situations Make You Feel Nauseous
Unlike the “butterflies” in your stomach, this nauseous sensation is much more intense.
When certain situations make you feel like you want to vomit, then you are dealing with excessive stress and it’s making you sick. Nausea is a fairly common symptom among those struggling with anxiety.
5. Your Glands Feel Swollen as if You’re Getting a Virus
You have glands at different locations in your body. The most common glands to feel as though they’re swelling are the ones in your throat. You might also feel like you have a frog in your throat or experience a clogged sensation.
It’s not that your glands are actually swelling up as a result of a virus or other illness. This is the way your body responds to over-sensitization.
6. Simple Activities Make You Overly Tired
After a long day at work or even during a busy week, you’re bound to feel tired. After all, working hard and keeping busy are things that naturally wear you out.
Anxiety, however, has a way of sapping the life out of you so that even simple things like vacuuming or running an errand exhaust you.
7. You Feel Tightness in Your Chest for No Apparent Reason
Feeling any abnormality in your chest will probably be a red flag for you. Sometimes, though, the pressure creeps in slowly. It might seem normal after a while.
What you’ll recognize is a tightness in your chest. It’s not uncommon to experience shortness of breath and intense pressure on your chest like an elephant is sitting on it.
8. You Regularly Experience Indigestion After Eating
After an especially large meal, it’s normal to feel slightly bloated. But when you feel this same type of discomfort after your regular meal or snack, then it’s not normal.
You might even experience a burning sensation in your esophagus or upper abdomen. It could appear after eating or drinking and might travel clear to your chest area.
9. Your Mouth is Very Dry Even When You Drink Liquids
Having a dry mouth or tongue is common for people facing anxiety or excessive stress.
Not only can this make it hard to speak, but you might constantly be drinking without easing the discomfort. Sometimes a dry mouth will cause your lips to crack, and you could develop sores in your mouth.
Take the first step…
If you’re struggling with anxiety or excessive stress, and you are ready to address how they may be affecting your life and body, I would like to help. Please contact me via phone or email so we can discuss how we might work together to achieve your therapeutic goals as quickly and effectively as possible.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Linda K. Laffey, MFT