The Physical Signs of Anxiety That Most People Don’t Know

The physical signs of anxiety.

Physical Signs of Anxiety

You cannot tell what anxiety feels like unless you experienced it. Anxiety can cause several overwhelming psychological and physical symptoms. The causes of anxiety may vary from one person to another. But both real and imaginary situations can cause anxiety.

Negative thoughts like anticipating threating event cause your entire body to react. The brain as the command center gives signals to the internal organs especially the adrenal gland to release stress hormones.

The stress hormones will activate the heart, lungs, and muscles resulting in faster heartbeats, muscle tenses, and sweating. Anxiety disorders are characterized by these symptoms especially the Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

People who were diagnosed with GAD experience prolonged physical and psychological symptoms. Here are some of the physical signs of anxiety.

Muscle Tension

Unlike those people who don’t have GAD, people with anxiety disorder have chronic muscle tensions. In addition, they also experience pains in their shoulder, neck and jaw muscles. These symptoms may accompany fidgeting, and grinding of teeth. These physical signs of anxiety persist even after the threatening situations have subsided.

Prompt interventions may be necessary. The most common ways to treat anxiety are relaxation techniques, mindfulness, and the combination of medication and psychological therapy.

Dizziness and headache

A person with a generalized anxiety disorder may be preoccupied with negative thoughts and worries. This may result in a lack of sleep which in turn cause a headache. This psychological manifestation may stem from an exaggerated negative anticipation of imaginary danger.

Dizziness can also be experienced by people with GAD due to changes that are happening in the body. The increased heart rate and temperature may affect the orientation of your surroundings.

Digestive problems

Anxiety also affects the gut. In fact, it can cause stomachaches, constipation, diarrhea, among other digestive problems. These physical symptoms surely disrupt one’s daily routine especially the regular job. Because a person with anxiety is preoccupied with negative thoughts, these symptoms may cause other concerns such as the possible presence of medical illness.


Other physical signs of anxiety are characterized by irritability, trembling and shaking. Moreover, an anxious person may experience restlessness or fidgeting that she/he might not notice. These symptoms, however, are obvious to other people but not the sufferer. As a result, a person with GAD often unaware of his/her behavior.

Tiredness and difficulty to sleep

The chronic worry and negative thoughts cause many problems to a person with generalized anxiety disorder. Anxiety makes a person unable to sleep well or to even fall asleep. And lack of sleep creates more problems – it affects mental ability and well-being. An anxious person may also feel tired all day making him unable to carry out tasks and responsibilities. One of the treatments involves adjustment to the bedtime. Not taking a nap all throughout the day can be helpful to be able to fall asleep faster at bedtime.

Shortness of breath

The dramatic change in heart rate and blood pressure may result in shortness of breath. This is a similar symptom to those who have cardiovascular issues. But the shortness of breath in those who have an anxiety disorder is due to the drastic change in the internal organs’ functioning. Once anxiety strikes, the heart rate increases so do the blood pressure.

Self-treatment for anxiety

Although anxiety is commonly treated with the combination of psychotherapy and medication, there are free techniques a person can employ to treat this condition. It can be treated or controlled even without a professional help. However, these treatments are for less severe anxiety only.

Here are some of the effective coping strategies for anxiety that you can do at home:

Stress management

The ability to manage stress allows you to control the physical signs of anxiety. Learn how to manage your negative thinking pattern that triggers anxiety.

Relaxation techniques

Because anxiety is caused by physical and psychological tense, learning how to relax the mind and physical symptoms can be tremendously helpful. Meditation, yoga, deep breathing, and exercise are good practices to manage anxiety.

Mental training

As mentioned, anxiety stems from negative thinking pattern. Thus, an effective way to manage anxiety must start in the mind. Negative thoughts must be changed into positive ones. Filling a mind with positivity helps to avoid the negative thoughts that could trigger anxiety.

Build a better social connection

One of the best ways to manage anxiety is by building a solid support network. Surround yourself with people who could understand and willing to accept who you are. Your friends and family are good support systems.

Concluding remarks

These physical signs of anxiety are similar to those with other physical diseases. However, a person can only be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder if these symptoms have no physical explanation. The evaluation is not easy though. Only the mental health professionals are capable of doing so.


Although there are available free techniques that can be done at home without the supervision of health professionals, those techniques may not be appropriate for extreme symptoms. Thus, it is always the best choice to seek a doctor’s advice if physical signs of anxiety are out of your control.