Many people are experiencing new symptoms of poor health without realising what’s really behind that pain and discomfort. As we near the two-year mark of COVID-19, there’s no doubt that life as we once knew it has changed. Even as restrictions ease and things begin to open up, many of us have left a part of us behind. It isn’t uncommon to have newfound anxiety surrounding illness and disease, not to mention many other stressors that come alongside.
What Does Anxiety Do to Our Bodies?
Whether pandemic-related or not, the autonomic nervous system sets in motion when an individual is stressed, yielding physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, and stomach pain. If not promptly addressed, the mental strain can worsen your physical symptoms and even become debilitating.
It’s possible to become so preoccupied with the physical consequences of your mental health that you forget the stressors you were battling against in the first place. How do you know if your symptoms are the result of a virus or the reflection of your mental health? If the latter is the case, how do you ease those symptoms? Here are our suggestions:
Take a Breather and Examine the Situation
The first step is to take a moment to notice what’s happening with your body. Consider whether what you’re feeling is a reaction to something alarming or unpleasant or whether it’s a feeling of emotional turmoil. These emotions likely prompted your symptoms if they occurred after a stressful incident or period. Be on the lookout for signs of muscle tenseness, which can signal a stress reaction.
Distract Yourself Temporarily
Distraction can be helpful if you feel worried is the cause of your physical symptoms. It’s a good idea to develop a repertory of things that can take your attention away from your body. You’ll usually start to feel better after going on to another activity and taking your mind off your symptoms. Each person’s distractions are unique. Experiment with different things to see what brings your mind to a state of relaxation.
Relax—or Work—Your Body
Try some deep breathing or relaxation exercises to help you relax. There are a plethora of internet resources and smartphone apps available to assist you in learning relaxation techniques. Physical activity can also aid in the reduction of stress. Consider incorporating a walk, some yoga, or resistance training into your daily routine.
Give Yourself Reassurance
If you think anxiety is the root of your physical symptoms, remind yourself that what you’re going through isn’t dangerous or fatal. Your stressors are not immediately life-threatening, and they’re not an indication of an oncoming medical tragedy. When you are able to cope with your anxiety and manage your stress, the symptoms will fade.
Consider Undergoing a Professional Evaluation
There is a distinction between preexisting conditions that flare up due to anxiety and anxiety that causes physical symptoms. People who are having an asthma attack and experience breathing difficulties, for example, may worry their symptoms are anxiety-induced. Their shortness of breath, however, is not always due to anxiousness. Contact your doctor if you have a physical ailment that does not respond to relaxation or other anxiety-management approaches.
Know When It’s Time to Seek Virtual Therapy
When simple anxiety crosses the line into an anxiety disorder, it is known as an anxiety disorder. Fear of participating in activities or being so consumed with worry that it interferes with your capacity to function are both signs that you may have a problem. If this describes you, it’s time to seek assistance. Experts can effectively treat anxiety disorders with a variety of approaches.
Talk with a Therapist from Halcyon Counselling Today!
If you are looking for anxiety counselling on the Sunshine Coast, Halcyon Counselling is here to help! We can help manage the physical manifestations of stress and anxiety by using various treatments, including cognitive behavioural therapy. We will assist you in finding hope and healing if you need it. Call us to make an appointment.