Anyone who has experienced anxiety knows that it is more than an emotional response. It can have a wide range of physical symptoms as well, including shortness of breath, chest pain, sweaty palms, and upset stomach. However, some symptoms are not as well known but have been linked to anxiety.
Here are three surprising symptoms of anxiety. Do you experience any of them?
Anxiety and Memory
Studies show that people who experience anxiety, particularly generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and panic disorder often struggle with memory problems. Researchers believe that stress can disrupt the process that manages how we collect and store memories.
They found that when a person is exposed to short-term stress, certain molecules are activated that restrict functions in the learning and memory regions of the brain. Since stress is often a cause of anxiety, it is easy to see how anxiety can impact memory.
Anxiety and Balance Issues
Anxiety can impact balance in a few ways. If a person has fallen in the past, they may be afraid of falling again and this can create anxiety. However, just the presence of anxiety can cause the body to react in very specific ways that can affect mobility and balance.
When a person is anxious their gait is affected due to tightening of the muscles in the body which causes the posture to be altered and movements stiff. The stiffness and tension can also affect their head movements and even how they visually survey their surroundings. The eyes tend to move rapidly, and the person may have difficulty focusing on a single object. This can greatly affect balance.
Anxiety and Sleep Problems
Anxiety has been linked to mental hyperarousal which is one of the most common causes of insomnia. People who struggle with anxiety tend to have higher sleep reactivity. This means that when they are stressed or anxious, they tend to have sleep problems.
Part of this can stem from worry or ruminating on ideas or concerns. This gets worse when they try to get quiet to go to sleep. A person with anxiety may have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
How to Lessen the Effects of Anxiety
When you are in the midst of an anxiety attack it can seem like there is no way out. That simply is not true.
One of the hallmark traits of anxiety is a change in breathing patterns. The anxious person will start to take short, shallow breaths. When you feel anxiety creeping up, instead of giving over to it, stop and take slow, deep breaths, in through your nose and blowing out through your mouth.
Reduce the sugar in your diet.
Sugar increases anxiety by disrupting many of your body’s normal functions. It is highly processed and the damage it does to the body can be for life. Find other healthier, natural alternatives.
Get more, better quality sleep.
We see that anxiety causes sleep problems but getting around 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night can help prevent or lessen anxiety. Sleep deprivation can exacerbate it. So, commit to be good to yourself and get those z’s every night.
Eat whole foods and don’t skip meals.
Eating right and cutting out processed and junk food will make a huge difference in the way you feel. Changing your diet to include healthier foods will bring your body into a better balance which can help prevent anxiety.
You have probably heard that regular exercise is good for your body and brain. You probably already know that it helps stave off depression and relieves stress, but did you know it can also lessen your anxiety? It’s true! Walking three times a week for thirty minutes can make a huge difference in how you feel, and you’ll likely see your anxiety subside as well.
Learn relaxation techniques.
There are so many relaxation techniques out there you should be able to find one that works for you. Massage, a warm bath, yoga, and meditation are all very effective stress management strategies. Even if you can’t eliminate the stress from your life, you can learn how to manage it better and minimize your anxiety.
Let neurofeedback change your brain.
Neuro therapy, commonly called neurofeedback, is a non-invasive process that works on changing your brainwave activity. A computer monitors the brainwaves in real-time then adjusts the brainwave activity. This is called operant conditioning which is a method that changes how the brain processes certain information by rewarding positive behavior. It is usually permanent and can greatly reduce anxiety – or eliminate it.
Understanding anxiety and knowing how to combat it can change your world. It will allow you to do things that your anxiety kept you from doing. It can help you sleep better and feel better. You will be happier, healthier, and you may even see improvements in your relationships.
Don’t let anxiety rule your life. Fight back and take back your life. Sandstone can help. Our neurofeedback services have a fantastic success rate for anxiety, depression, ADHD, and much more. Call today or schedule an appointment online and get ready to get better.
*Sandstone Center for Neurofeedback does not diagnose medical conditions. Sandstone Center for Neurofeedback is a nonmedical, medication-free program for children and adults who struggle.