I’ve suffered from anxiety all my life. Like that annoying mosquito bite you can’t quite reach, it’s always been there — a constant annoying itch. My earliest memory of anxiety goes way back to 1990 when I was just 10 years old. I couldn’t sleep the night before my first day of fourth grade and as I laid there in bed, wide-eyed, my mind raced with all the what-ifs of the day to come. And that’s what people usually think of when they hear the word “anxiety” – sleepless nights and other obvious symptoms like racing heart beats and sweaty palms. But, there are so many more ways that our bodies are affected by anxiety. While anxiety affects each one of us differently, there are some symptoms of constant anxiety that might surprise you. Here are just a few.
Tooth and Jaw Pain
When people are in a state of anxiety, they often clench their jaws without even knowing it, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. They can even start grinding their teeth at night. All of this may happen without the sufferer being aware, making the pain come seemingly out of the blue. But, rest assured, it’s the result of grinding and clenching from stress. Some doctors recommend night guards if the problem persists. During the day, there are plenty of jaw exercises that can help loosen a clenched jaw and a simple internet search can find one that is right for you. But as with any new exercise routine, ask your doctor before starting.
Forgetfulness and Trouble Finding Your Words
Walking into a room and forgetting why you went there is common for most busy people, but when it happens a lot it might be a manifestation of anxiety and brain overload, according to Psychology Today. Your brain is thinking about a million other things besides what you are doing at that moment. Your body is working on autopilot to compensate. The same thing is responsible for having trouble finding the correct words when talking.
Getting Sick Often
Anxiety has our bodies working overtime, which may put a strain on immune systems, according to Healthline. Often times it leave people completely drained and excessively tired. And despite the fatigue, people with extreme anxiety often have trouble sleeping which can compound these problems. Anxiety can also just make you feel plain old sick – stomach aches, nausea, diarrhea or constipation, and more.
Cold Hands and Feet
According to Medical News Today, stress can cause the hormone Epinephrine to surge throughout the body which can cause blood vessels in the hands and feet to constrict. Getting up and moving is a good way to get your blood pumping and gain some relief.
Since being diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder over 20 years ago, I’ve learned a lot about my body and how it is affected by what goes on inside my overactive brain. I’m more in tune with what it needs to recoup from the anxiety. It took a long time to get to this place but educating myself was and is a great line of defense. So, if you too deal with anxiety, give yourself a break (a big one). Your body is going through a lot. Be kind. And remember, it does get better.