Physical anxiety relief

What Does It Feel Like?

If you have anxiety, you might frequently feel worried, nervous, or afraid about ordinary events. These feelings can be upsetting and difficult to manage. They can also make daily life a challenge.

Anxiety can also cause physical symptoms. Think about a time when you felt anxious. Maybe your hands were sweaty or your legs were shaky. Your heart rate might have sped up. You could have felt sick to your stomach.

You might have linked these symptoms to your nervousness. But maybe you weren’t sure why you felt unwell.

Most people experience anxiety on occasion. Anxiety can be serious or turn into a disorder if it lasts for a long time, causes significant distress, or interferes with your life in other ways.

Types of anxiety include:

  • panic disorders
  • generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • separation anxiety
  • social anxiety
  • phobias
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Some types of anxiety have unique symptoms specific to the fears linked to the anxiety. In general, though, anxiety disorders share many physical symptoms.

Read on to learn more about anxiety’s physical symptoms and how they can affect you.

Anxiety can have physical symptoms that affect health and daily life.

Physical symptoms of anxiety

  • stomach pain, nausea, or digestive trouble
  • headache
  • insomnia or other sleep issues (waking up frequently, for example)
  • weakness or fatigue
  • rapid breathing or shortness of breath
  • pounding heart or increased heart rate
  • sweating
  • trembling or shaking
  • muscle tension or pain

Specific types of anxiety might have additional physical symptoms.

If you’re having a panic attack, you might:

  • fear that you’re going to die
  • have trouble breathing or feel as if you’re choking
  • have numb or tingling sensations in parts of your body
  • have chest pain
  • feel lightheaded, dizzy, or as if you might pass out
  • feel overheated or have chills

Anxiety, the body’s response to stress, is how your body alerts you to threats and helps you get ready to deal with them. This is called the fight-or-flight response.

When your body responds to danger, you breathe rapidly because your lungs are trying to move more oxygen through your body in case you need to escape. This can make you feel as if you’re not getting enough air, which could trigger further anxiety or panic.

Your body isn’t meant to always be on alert. Being in constant fight-or-flight mode, which can happen with chronic anxiety, can have negative and serious effects on your body.

Tensed muscles may prepare you to get away from danger quickly, but muscles that are constantly tense can result in pain, tension headaches, and migraines.

The hormones adrenalin and cortisol are responsible for increased heartbeat and breathing, which can help when facing a threat. But these hormones also affect digestion and blood sugar.

If you’re often stressed or anxious, frequently releasing these hormones can have long-term health effects. Your digestion may also change in response.

If your symptoms affect your mental health or make everyday life difficult, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. Your primary care provider can rule out medical issues that cause the same symptoms.

If your physical symptoms have no medical cause, you could have anxiety. A mental health professional can diagnose anxiety and other mental health conditions.

While there’s no medical test for anxiety, there are screening tools a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, or counselor may use to help determine if you have anxiety.

A mental health professional will ask you about all of your symptoms, physical and emotional, to determine whether you have an anxiety disorder. They’ll also want to know how long you’ve had symptoms and if they’ve increased in severity or were triggered by a specific event.

There are important facts to share with your therapist:

  • Are you using drugs or other substances?
  • Have you been hurting yourself or are you having thoughts of hurting yourself or others?

Either of these things can impact diagnosis and treatment. Many people have anxiety along with another mental health condition, such as depression. Telling your therapist about all of your symptoms can help you get the most accurate diagnosis and most helpful treatment.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), you may be at increased risk for physical health problems if you have anxiety.

A 2015 study of 989 adults found that anxiety symptoms were associated with ulcers. The same study also found that as anxiety and depression symptoms increased, it became more likely a person would have:

  • asthma
  • heart problems
  • migraines
  • vision problems
  • back problems

Research has further linked asthma and anxiety. A 2016 study suggested that either asthma or anxiety can cause or result from the other.

Research has also suggested that anxiety is associated with an increased risk for heart disease, heart failure, and stroke, though it hasn’t been determined that anxiety is a specific risk factor for these conditions.

A 2017 study of older adults found that anxiety was associated with heart disease. Having both anxiety and depression was linked to an increase in vision problems, stomach problems, and asthma, among other issues.

Because anxiety can have such a serious impact on health, it’s important to get help. Mild anxiety may go away on its own or after the event causing the anxiety is over, but chronic anxiety often persists and may get worse.

If you aren’t sure how to find a therapist, you can ask your primary care provider for a referral.

Therapist directories can also help you locate a therapist in your area. If you think you have anxiety, you can look for providers who specialize in anxiety treatment.

Finding Help For Anxiety

  • ADAA Online Support Group
  • Crisis Text Line: Text CONNECT to 741741
  • SAMHSA: Help finding treatment in your area
  • ADAA therapist directory

Treatment for anxiety depends on what symptoms you have and how severe they are.

Therapy and medication are the two main treatments for anxiety. If you experience physical symptoms, talk therapy or medication that improves your anxiety often leads to improvement of these symptoms.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most common and effective therapy options for anxiety.

You may find that therapy on its own is helpful. But if your symptoms don’t improve, anxiety medication is an option you can discuss with a psychiatrist.

You can also take action on your own to address anxiety symptoms.

Self-Care For Anxiety

  • Be physically active, if you’re able: Exercise can help reduce stress and improve physical health. If you can’t be active, try sitting outside every day. Research increasingly shows that nature can benefit mental health.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine: Any of these can make anxiety worse.
  • Try relaxation techniques: Guided imagery and deep breathing are two practices that can help your body relax. Meditation and yoga can also benefit you. These techniques are considered safe, but it is possible to experience increased anxiety as a result.
  • Prioritize sleep: Sleep issues often accompany anxiety. Try to get as much sleep as you can. Feeling rested can help you cope with anxiety symptoms. Getting more sleep could also reduce symptoms.

What are some common signs of anxiety?

When you feel anxious you might have racing thoughts but also physical symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, tense muscles, trembling, a rapid heartbeat, and pain and bloating in your abdomen. These are all the results of the stress response when the body releases cortisol as it prepares for “fight or flight.”

What causes anxiety?

The causes vary widely between individuals. Possible triggers include public speaking, a confrontation, illness, work, driving on a fast road, or a high-profile event, such as a wedding. Some people become anxious for no apparent reason, which may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.

How can I stop anxiety?

Deep breathing can help you calm down at the time anxiety happens. Other techniques include visualization, meditation, and yoga. Getting enough exercise and sleep can also help in the long term. If anxiety is hard to manage, a doctor may recommend counseling, medication, or both.

Persistent fear and worry are fairly well-known anxiety symptoms, but you may be less familiar with anxiety’s physical symptoms. You may be unaware what you’re experiencing is anxiety.

Untreated anxiety can have long-term effects for all areas of health. Talk to your doctor if your symptoms persist or cause difficulty for you at work or school, or in your relationships.

There’s no cure for anxiety, but treatment, which often includes a combination of therapy and medication, is often very helpful at reducing symptoms.

8 Physical Ways to Diffuse Anxiety When Breathing Won't Work

Many tout meditation as a remedy for anxiety, and rightfully so. But in moments of panic where anxiety already feels like it’s past the point of no return, coping techniques like meditation or even breathing exercises might not be as helpful, especially if those types of exercises are not your thing.

Some people need techniques that are a little more physical or sensory-oriented. Here are eight small and simple physical ways you can calm your anxiety, and get your mind and its racing thoughts back into your body and reality.

When you experience anxiety, your body goes into fight-flight-freeze mode. Chemicals including adrenaline and cortisol are released into your body, causing physical agitation and further fueling the anxiety.

According to Dance and Movement Therapist Melissa Meade, you can literally shake off the anxiety by moving your hands, arms, legs — wherever you’re feeling tension. You can also try stomping, punching a pillow, or yes, dancing.

“Movement inherently releases tension,” she says. “When animals reach the freeze state, the way they get out of it is to shake it off. They literally shake every part of their body.”

While we adults may not have the same carefree fun playing with toys as kids do, we can use them to our advantage to calm anxiety.

Toys that require your focus, but are short of being frustrating, work to distract you from your anxiety. They can also be soothing and grounding, since they’re both tactile and visual.

Psychiatrist Sean Paul, MD recommends using a fidget toy, such as an infinity cube (though there are plenty of other fidget toys on the market). Alternatively, you could use something like Legos or a desktop sand zen garden.

Anti-anxiety toys on Amazon

  • an infinity cube
  • Legos
  • desktop sand zen garden

If you’re looking for a different kind of sensory experience to get you out of your panic, Eric Zink, founder of mental health non-profit Dr1ven Together, says one of his most effective grounding techniques is biting straight into a lemon, peel and all.

The textures and the bitterness act as a shock to your system, and will direct your thoughts to the taste instead of the anxious thoughts in your head.

Don’t want to bite directly into a full lemon? You can cut one into wedges and bite into those and suck out the bitter juice. Alternatively, many people like to use sour candies such as Warheads for the same purpose.

Mammals — aka us — experience a calming response when diving into cold water. DBT therapist Nikki Winchester recommends submerging your face in a bowl of cold water, or if that’s too uncomfortable for you, just submerging your forehead. Try to stay under for 30 seconds.

“This tells your brain that you are diving underwater and induces the dive response, causing activation of your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS),” she says. Activation of the PNS is associated with relaxation. The response slows down your heart rate, which is particularly helpful if you’re having a panic attack and your heart won’t stop racing.

Disclaimer: If you have a low base heart rate or have heart conditions, consult your doctor before trying this.

Anxiety sufferer Millie K. , 23, uses a unique approach to help to find relief with anxiety. She touches the pad of her thumb to the pad of each other finger (as in a pinching motion) while she spells words out loud. Each finger is for a different letter.

She spells words of things that are comforting to her or things she likes, such as chocolate cake. When engaging in this practice, Millie says she is able to focus on the spelling and the finger tapping, which distracts her from spiraling thoughts.

You’ve heard of grounding, but have you ever tried grounding by way of lying on the floor? Danielle C., 28, likes to lie down flat on the floor, preferably a tiled bathroom floor, when she’s having anxiety attacks.

“The slight shock of the cold tiles on my skin helps me to relax because it helps me feel like I’m not overheating, while also providing a feeling of comfort and stability,” she says.

She does this in minimal clothing so more surface area touches the tile, and also because when her claustrophobia is triggered, the clothes feel suffocating.

While it might feel counterintuitive to exercise in the moment, psychiatry resident Patricia Celan, MD says that “by actively doing high intensity exercise that boosts the heart rate, [people] are able to take control of their physical symptoms.”

You don’t even need to go anywhere to do this. Just get up out of your seat and do jumping jacks, burpees, fake jump rope, whatever you choose.

Celan says this can be especially helpful for people with PTSD. Since they’re not able to control or change the past, being able to regain a sense of control in the moment is key to calming down, she says.

Bilateral stimulation, or side-to-side stimulation, is a technique used in EMDR therapy that can help to induce a relaxation response. Sophia V., 26, who has OCD and anxiety, says she’s had success by tapping her hands on opposite shoulders in an alternating pattern. You can tap alternate arms or legs as well.

The same techniques don’t work for everybody. It might take some experimenting to figure out which of these coping techniques works for you. Alternatively, you might need to use a couple of them to help you calm down. Everyone’s anxiety is different, but there’s one thing that’s universal: Everyone deserves relief and the ability to calm down.

treatment, how to get rid of anxiety, how to deal with anxiety for no reason

Anxiety is a negatively colored mood with feelings of worry, tension, and fear. In moderation, such emotions are useful: they help to mobilize forces and find a way out of extreme situations. But there must be grounds for concern, and normally it lasts a limited period of time.

If a person constantly experiences a feeling of anxiety and anxiety for no reason, this may indicate the presence of a mental disorder. In the absence of help, constant tension wears out the nervous system and the body as a whole, which leads to a breakdown in adaptation mechanisms and the development of chronic diseases.

If you notice that you cannot relax for a long time, then you should think about visiting a specialist.

In pathological cases, a state of anxiety and restlessness without a cause manifests itself both mentally and physically.

Mental symptoms:

  • constant feeling of fear and excitement for no reason,
  • poor concentration and attention,
  • sleep disorders,
  • emotional lability, irritability, tearfulness,
  • inability to relax and fully engage in daily activities or communication,
  • the need to reassure others that everything is okay. At the same time, words of support do not bring relief.

Physical symptoms:

  • rapid breathing and heartbeat,
  • headaches, pain in the abdomen and in the region of the heart,
  • excessive sweating,
  • eating disorders: increased or loss of appetite,
  • weakness,
  • shivering, chills,
  • stool disorders: frequent urge, constipation,
  • feeling short of breath,
  • nausea,
  • muscle spasms and pain.

Unreasonable anxiety and anxiety increase or smooth out from time to time. Exacerbations often accompany stress: conflicts, important events, illness. Normally, a person recovers quickly after the situation is resolved, but when upset, negative emotions do not go away.

The intensity of anxiety varies from mild to severe. The extreme is panic. If you ignore an anxiety state for a long time for no reason, then panic attacks can join it. They overtake unexpectedly and sometimes without a good enough reason, but after this episode, a person begins to avoid situations similar to the one in which it happened: public transport, an elevator, or just a crowd of people. This greatly reduces the quality of life and can lead to social isolation.

Causes of causeless anxiety and anxiety

The occurrence of anxiety disorder is influenced by heredity. It has been found that certain brain structures and features of biological processes play an important role in the emergence of fear and anxiety. Personal characteristics, somatic health problems, lifestyle and various types of addictions also matter. Sometimes there is no cause for causeless anxiety and worry. Negative feelings usually have a trigger - an event or thought that causes an anxious response. However, most people are not aware of their triggers and believe that their emotions are groundless. In this case, only a specialist will help to understand why excitement arises for no reason.

There are a number of diseases, the symptoms of which are constant anxiety. With causeless fear and anxiety, the reasons may be as follows:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Persistent nervousness and worry over small things that are usually visible to others and last 6 or more months. It starts in adolescence and intensifies with age.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder: obsessive thoughts and fears that are accompanied by obsessive actions that do not bring relief. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is distinguished - a person is indomitably haunted by memories that reproduce a traumatic situation.
  • Phobias: irrational fear of any, even mundane, things. Accompanied by uncontrolled panic and physical manifestations.
  • Panic attack - an excruciating and sudden attack of panic, which is accompanied by a fear of death and vivid somatic symptoms. The regular occurrence of panic attacks means the development of a panic disorder.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder: occurs after a severe traumatic situation and is accompanied by high levels of anxiety, avoidance and flashbacks.

These are the most common examples, but pathological anxiety can be a symptom of other disorders or the result of a failed stress management. If you want to understand why there is a feeling of anxiety for no reason, you should consult a doctor. Without clarifying the main factor and working on it, it is impossible to restore health and peace of mind.

What to do with causeless anxiety and anxiety

It is difficult to live in constant stress. If you experience causeless anxiety and fear of what to do, the following list will tell you:

  1. Talk to someone you trust. This could be a relative, a close friend, a therapist, or a helpline employee. People are social creatures, so communication is a good way to relieve internal tension.
  2. Find a way to calm down quickly. There is not always a person with whom you can share. Therefore, it is important to find a suitable method that will help you relax: breathing techniques, soothing music, aromatherapy, self-massage, and more. If you cannot independently choose a technique that quickly helps with anxiety for no reason, a specialist will tell you what to do.
  3. Add physical activity to your life. It is a natural and effective remedy for anxiety. Moderate sport relieves stress, lowers stress hormones, and strengthens the nervous system. Get at least 30 minutes of physical exercise a day.
  4. Normalization of lifestyle. Get enough sleep, eat well, give up bad habits. This stabilizes physical performance and neurotransmitter levels, which helps maintain emotional balance.
  5. Start keeping a diary. Notes help identify patterns of anxiety flare-ups, understand the causes, and notice early signs of their occurrence. Also, thanks to this, you will begin to focus more on positive events that you might not have noticed before.

With excitement for no reason, everyone who regularly encounters this wants to know what to do. There is no universal method, however, the 5 steps listed above are recommended for every person with increased anxiety. This may be enough to alleviate symptoms. But if self-help techniques do not give the desired effect, then with a regularly occurring feeling of anxiety for no reason, you need to find out from a specialist what to do.

Treatment of causeless feelings of anxiety and restlessness

Regardless of the cause of pathological anxiety, professional help is the only complete method to eliminate the problem. If you have constant excitement and anxiety for no reason, you can quickly and effectively learn from a psychiatrist or psychotherapist how to get rid of this condition.

Due to the diversity of anxiety disorders, their therapy must be adapted to the individual clinical picture and diagnosis. Therefore, only a highly qualified specialist who has experience working with different types of anxiety conditions can tell you how to get rid of an anxiety state for no reason. For example, the therapy algorithm for a patient with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is different from the help for panic attacks.

For a state of anxiety and anxiety without a cause, treatment includes the following approaches:

  1. Psychotherapy. The most promising direction, which not only eliminates the symptom, but identifies the cause and fights it. Therapy teaches when feeling anxiety for no reason, how to get rid of acute attacks of anxiety, relax, look at life situations differently. The doctor will help to uncover the main causes of your fears and work them out. The patient receives the tools to overcome anxiety and uses them successfully. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is usually used: in the course of treatment, the patient encounters an object of concern and gradually gains confidence that he can control the situation.
  2. Medical therapy. Depending on the type of anxiety and the presence of associated mental or physical health problems, antidepressants, sedatives, sleeping pills, and other drugs may be prescribed. When anxiety is felt without a cause, drug treatment will alleviate the symptoms and improve the quality of life of the patient during his psychotherapeutic work on the underlying cause. Uncontrolled medication leads to dangerous side effects and withdrawal syndrome, so they can only be used according to the individual course prescribed by the doctor.

It is recommended to use a combination of psychotherapeutic and drug treatment, but sometimes only the first one is enough.

You should not put off visiting a doctor if you feel that experiences are preventing you from living. Over time, the symptoms worsen and other severe mental illnesses join: depression, neurotic disorders, and more. If the normalization of lifestyle does not help, it means that you will understand how to get rid of unreasonable anxiety only from a psychotherapist. With a timely appeal to a competent specialist, only a few sessions of psychotherapy may be enough for recovery.

Thanks to modern psychotherapeutic approaches, hundreds of people are making great strides every day in the fight against anxiety disorders. There is no need to endure the painful burden of fear and anxiety, because timely assistance allows you to achieve excellent results: the patient will fully recover and return to a full life, and the improvement will be noticeable after the first session.

How to reduce anxiety

The reasons for anxiety can be the fast pace of life, worries about the future, endless notifications in instant messengers. Anxiety over insignificant things leads to mental disorders. Therefore, it is necessary to recognize these states and learn to manage them independently. T&P tells what can be the cause of anxiety and how to get out of it.

Why are we worried?

In order to get out of an uncomfortable state, you must first understand how it is characterized, what is happening to a person at this moment and what are its causes. This is not about a certain emotion, such as the excitement that occurs before a speech or an important conversation, but about a state. You cannot get out of it in two minutes by taking a deep breath and exhaling. It needs to be worked out on a psychological level. Most often, anxiety is associated with cognitive attitudes that we create ourselves.

Anxiety is an active, agitated state, unlike depression, during which there is no counteraction to stress allows a person to react and adapt in a dangerous situation. American psychologist Charles Spielberger identifies two forms of anxiety: as a state and as a property. In the first case, this is a temporary reaction to external circumstances, in the second - a character trait, a person constantly reacts sharply even to minor interference.

Russian psychologist Yevgeny Ilyin in his book "Psychophysiology of human states" defines anxiety as a prediction of failures in a state of uncertainty. Most often, the cause of this state is the experience and thinking of negative scenarios for the future. However, this can be used for good and not just worry about failure, but think over and draw up a plan of action that you will take in this case.

It's normal to feel anxious about moving to a new place, starting a new job, or taking a test. This type of anxiety can motivate you to work harder. Ordinary anxiety is a feeling that comes and goes but does not interfere with your daily life.

If you have an anxiety disorder, fear can be with you all the time. This type of anxiety can make you stop doing what you enjoy. In extreme cases, it can prevent you from getting on an elevator, crossing a street, or even leaving your home.

Anxiety disorders are the most common form of emotional disorder and can affect anyone at any age. According to the American Psychiatric Association, women are more likely than men to suffer from anxiety disorders.

Clinical psychologist Michael Tomek

Treatment of generalized anxiety disorder requires psychotherapy and medication. GAD may be accompanied by depression. If you notice for several months frequent excessive anxiety over minor things that is beyond your control and causes a physical reaction (for example, rapid heartbeat, spasms, muscle cramps), you should contact a specialist. Temporary anxiety can be dealt with on your own.

How to reduce anxiety in everyday life

Look for the cause of anxiety

Anxiety cannot be ignored, says psychologist Michael Tomek. Most often, the reason is thoughts about the future. If you have presented a negative scenario, consider how you will act in such a situation, which will help you solve this problem. So you will understand that you will be able to cope with possible difficulties, and therefore there is no cause for concern.

According to Stoic philosophy, all phenomena in the world are divided into controlled and not subject to man. The Stoics are sure that worrying about something that does not depend on us is pointless and it is better to direct all our efforts and attention to things that we control. “Of the things that exist, some are in our power, others are not. In our power is opinion, aspiration, desire, evasion - in a word, everything that is ours, ”says Epictetus in the book A Brief Guide to the Moral Life”

Focus on the body

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) claims that exercise helps a person reduce anxiety. During sports, you are focused on your physical condition and all resources are directed to maintaining it. A single workout can help relieve symptoms for a few hours, and regular exercise can significantly reduce them over time.

Reduce the number of alerts

One of the anxiety factors can be the frequent use of gadgets. You're stressed out if you keep getting alerts on your phone. Leave only the most important - the rest of the chats, news resources can simply be checked periodically.

Solve math problems and get creative

If anxiety keeps you from doing your usual things, challenge your brain. It can be exercises in physics, mathematics or a game of chess. You can count backwards in your mind, add and multiply random numbers.

If you are less interested in math problems, take up drawing or playing music. The main thing is to shift attention to solving a specific problem and direct all other resources to it.

Watch your breath

Stanford University scientists have found a connection between breathing and our emotional state: the shallower we breathe, the higher the level of anxiety and worry. Therefore, deep breathing practices must be performed periodically.

Simple breathing exercises: