What does anxiety feel like?
Everyone’s experience of anxiety disorders is different. Not everyone who has an anxiety disorder will experience the same symptoms.
Anxiety develops in the amygdala, an area of the brain that manages emotional responses so when someone becomes anxious, stressed, or frightened, the brain sends signals to other parts of the body signalling that the body should prepare to ‘fight, flight or freeze’.
The body responds by releasing adrenaline and cortisol, the stress hormones, which can be helpful when confronting danger in am aggressive person but doesn’t help at a job interview or sitting an exam. It is also really unhealthy for this to persist over the long term.
We all feel anxious at times and this is perfectly normal, it’s when the anxious feelings begin to take over that we need to do something about changing our thought patterns. It’s normal to worry about an exam or a driving test for example as these feelings can give you an awareness of the risks and what you need to do in a difficult or dangerous situation. This reaction is known as ‘fight or flight.’
As I said earlier your brain responds to a threat or danger by releasing stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Even if you have imagined the danger, these hormones cause the physical symptoms of anxiety. Once the threatening situation has stopped, your body will usually return to normal.
Anxiety can impact physical and mental health so it’s really important to address the situation.
I would say that excessive worry and feeling nervous are the most common symptoms but people will also experience –
- Fast beating heart
- Panic attacks
- Chest pain
- Sleeping difficulties
- Stomach pains
- Digestive issues
- Obsessive thoughts
- Compulsive behaviours
Anxiety can also have a massive effect on the body causing chronic physical conditions such as producing a greater risk in heart disease, impairs your immune system making you more prone to colds, flu and infections.
Anxiety in the long term is also linked to depression, bowel disorders, digestive issues, chronic pain and loss of sex drive.
But the great news is anxiety IS treatable so seek out a professional to help you.