15 Telltale Signs You’re Experiencing Anxiety
Anxiety is a normal part of life. Everyone, regardless of how well off they are, experiences anxiety at some point in their life. Anxiety is a mental health disorder that is characterized as any type of worry or feeling of anxiety that interferes with the normal activities of daily life. People who have anxiety often suffer in silence much longer than they have to, and are afraid to seek help for something that they think they should just be able to talk themselves out of. This article is here to show you a few telltale signs that you may be suffering from anxiety, and encourage you that these feelings are normal, and you are not alone.
1. Your heart seems like it’s pounding out of your chest
One of the first signs of anxiety is often a rapid heartbeat, and the feeling as if you’ve run a marathon even if you just got out of bed. A rapid heartbeat, as long as the heartbeat is steady and not arrhythmic, is completely normal. It’s just your body being shocked into fight or flight mode, which is what happens when we experience a situation that our body believes is critical. Simply taking a few deep breaths will help steady your heart.
2. You’re not hungry
Another sign that your body is entering fight or flight mode is a lack of appetite. A lot of people don’t understand this symptom of anxiety, but it makes perfect sense. If your body believes that it’s under attack, the last thing it will want you to do in that moment is stop and leisurely eat some food. After all, you’ve got things to run away from! By keeping hydrated and maintaining a steady intake of calories even if you don’t feel hungry, you can help convince your body that things are A-OK.
3. You’re lightheaded or dizzy
Having a fast heartbeat will often cause people to start breathing faster, which only leads to hyperventilation if it continues for any length of time. Next time you start feeling lightheaded or dizzy, sit down and force yourself to take a few deep breaths. Breathing slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth will help regulate your breathing. You won’t solve any of your problems if you pass out.
4. You can’t seem to focus on any one thing
Another way to tell that you’re experiencing anxiety is if you can’t seem to focus on anything. Your brain wants to keep circling around the things that you’re worrying about, which doesn’t leave much time for normal, everyday concerns. The next time you feel unfocused — like you’re wandering around in a daze — take a few moments to breathe deeply and focus on the environment around you. Bringing your attention back to your surroundings can help re-orient you in a positive way.
5. You’re restless
This goes along with not being able to focus on anything. If your body feels restless, it’s probably your brain trying hard to tell your body that there are still things to worry about. The next time this happens, try calming your body with some deep breaths and distracting yourself for a few minutes until you’re able to sit a little calmer.
6. You worry in circles about things that are out of your control
One hallmark of an anxiety disorder is worrying about things that are completely out of your control. It takes a lot of confidence and strength to be able to say to yourself that although the situation seems out of control, you’re going to trust that things will be okay. For many people, surrendering to the unpredictability of life is very difficult. The next time you’re in an anxiety spiral, try to give yourself some encouragement and positive affirmations instead of being frustrated.
7. You have a huge to do list, but don’t feel like getting anything done
For many people with anxiety or an anxiety disorder, they find that their day is so taken up with worrying that they’re unable to get anything else accomplished. This includes things that they know will help with their anxiety like meeting friends or meditation. When you’re stuck in an anxiety spiral, taking care of yourself always seems to fall by the wayside first. The next time you’re feeling anxious, cut yourself some slack, and try and realize that not everything needs to be done immediately. There are other ways to feel accomplished.
8. You can’t sleep
Many people with anxiety can’t seem to get to sleep easily — after all, who would be able to sleep with all those worries flying through their heads? Many anxiety sufferers also have insomnia and are unable to sleep without first self-medicating with either drugs, alcohol, or sleeping pills. If you find yourself unable to sleep, stop beating yourself up about it — the worst thing to do is lie there and worry. Get up, get yourself a glass of water, or some warm decaf tea, and read a book for a bit until you feel sleepy.
9. Your muscles are tense
A lot of people find that when they’re in the middle of an anxious episode, they often go to bed feeling as if they’ve run a marathon because of how much their body aches. This feeling is completely normal since the body is under much more strain and stress than usual. People who are anxious are unable to relax, both mentally and physically. This can lead to days of extreme bodily discomfort, as muscles tighten with the strain of constant tension and restlessness.
10. You’re worried about being around people
Anxiety can turn even the most basic social interaction into a nightmare of stress and fear. Even people who usually are social butterflies can find themselves paralyzed by indecision and tension if they choose to go out with friends when they’re feeling anxiety. It doesn’t mean that your feelings towards your friends have suddenly changed. It’s just your body trying to convince you that things are more stressful than they need to be. Picturing past happy memories with those friends before you see them could help with this.
11. You feel like all eyes are on you, all the time
There are times in life when everyone feels like all the eyes in the room are on them — and for some, this is even a welcome feeling! However, if you have anxiety, feeling like you’re the center of attention isn’t necessarily a good thing. Often, social anxiety will cause people to stay home because they’re too afraid that they won’t be able to disguise the fact that they’re uncomfortable or nervous. This feeling is totally normal just as long as you don’t let it take over your life.
12. You feel as if you’re reliving past traumas all the time
The sudden feeling as if you’re reliving a trauma all over again is a hallmark of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD used to be thought of as just another type of anxiety before scientists re-classified it as its own disorder. This feeling of reliving your past traumas can often happen to people who suffer from anxiety as well as PTSD.
13. You’re obsessed with things being perfect
Many people believe that if they can control every aspect of their lives that they can also control their anxiety. Unfortunately, this simply isn’t true. People who have anxiety will always be able to find something to worry about, even if every aspect of their lives is perfect. This feeling of wanting to control your triggers is totally normal and shouldn’t be feared.
14. You second-guess yourself
Having anxiety can cause enormous self-doubt. After all, you’re suddenly feeling stress over things that you never worried about before. It can cause you to second-guess yourself all the time as you try and figure out why you feel the way you do. Unfortunately, second-guessing yourself doesn’t help much. The best thing to do is to build yourself up, so that you’re able to fight off feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing.
15. You’re tired all the time
Worrying is hard. You feel as if your mind is going 24/7 with no time to rest or relax. This, of course, leads to people feeling tired, especially if you’re having trouble sleeping. The best thing to do is to forgive yourself for worrying. You’re only human.