Exploring the Mind-Body Connection: Anxiety
Carlos Durana Ph.D., M.Ac. offers counseling and therapy in Reston, Virginia, Washington, DC, and Bethesda, Maryland.
It’s perfectly normal to feel anxious, especially when stressful life changes occur. However, some people may become overwhelmed with anxiety and it begins to interfere with their personal lives. These people may be struggling with an anxiety disorder. Many studies have been conducted by scientists and health care professionals regarding the influence mental health can have on physical health and vice versa. And in fact, many of the symptoms mental health professionals look for to determine if a patient is struggling with an anxiety disorder are physical.
Physical Symptoms of Anxiety
Some of the physical symptoms of anxiety include stomach aches, headaches, muscle aches and/or tension, heart palpitations, rapid breathing (hyperventilation), sweating, dry mouth, dizziness, cold or sweaty hands and feet, trembling or shaking, and/or fatigue. These symptoms can vary from short-term and moderate pain to severe and chronic pain and discomfort. Sometimes patients find themselves feeling excessive anxiety in instances that do not warrant this level of fear and worry.
Events or stressors that increase your anxiety may manifest themselves in the body through one of the symptoms listed above. As a result, this can weaken your body’s immune system and make you more susceptible to sickness and disease.
Ways To Calm Anxiety
Anxiety is unpleasant. But thankfully, there are ways to calm these feelings and decrease their physical symptoms to feel better both emotionally and physically. Here are four of the most helpful ways:
- Daily exercise. Exercise reduces stress in your body and improves your overall physical health. Walking is a simple exercise you can start with and it is a great way to feel better in general.
- Enough sleep. Sleep rejuvenates the body, reduces stress, and is a great way to calm your anxiety. Consult with your doctor if you’re having trouble sleeping.
- Relaxation. It’s difficult for anxiety to creep in if the mind and body are in a relaxed state. To start, try breathing exercises, mindful meditation, qigong, or yoga.
- Individual Counseling. By becoming more in touch with the connection between our minds and bodies, thoughts and feelings, and our wellbeing, we can learn and change our limited beliefs and counterproductive ways of being.
It is important to address the physical symptoms of anxiety that may be causing emotional distress and physical pain. Some effective ways to calm anxiety are through sleep, exercise, relaxation, and individual counseling. Dr. Durana’s interactive body-centered counseling approach illuminates the connections that exist between stress, thoughts, feelings, coping styles and physical symptoms or illnesses. Schedule an appointment with A Caring Approach to start your journey to improved wellness today.