The Link Between Anxiety and Physical Health

The Link Between Anxiety and Physical Health 1

The Physical Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety is not a singular experience or condition. In fact, it is an extremely varied range of mental health issues. Yet, despite the broadness of anxiety, the physical symptoms are often similar. Whether you are diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, or any other variation, your body responds in an instinctive and physical way to the mental stress you experience. Here are some of the most common physical symptoms:

  • Increased heart rate.
  • Quickened breathing.
  • Tense muscles.
  • Headaches.
  • Nausea and gastrointestinal discomfort.
  • Insomnia.
  • These physical symptoms can be directly damaging to the body, as many people experience them for extended periods of time, or chronically. When the body is under constant physiological stress, it can lead to a wide range of health issues, both minor and severe.

    The Link Between Anxiety and Physical Health 2

    The Risks of Chronic Anxiety on Physical Health

    As noted above, the physical symptoms of anxiety can inflict long-term harm on the body. Extended periods of high heart rate and quick breathing can lead to cardiovascular problems. Chronic insomnia can create significant mental health problems of its own, hindering cognitive function and increasing the risk of developing depression. Tense muscles and headaches can worsen with time, leading to chronic pain syndromes.

    Furthermore, a recent study from Harvard Medical School found a definitive link between chronic anxiety and a range of life-threatening conditions, such as stroke, heart disease, and respiratory disease. The study found that those with the highest rates of anxiety had the highest rates of these categories of diseases. Therefore, it is crucial to take the physical risks of anxiety seriously, as they can be no less dangerous than the mental effects.

    How to Help Physical Health While Managing Anxiety

    Fortunately, there are a range of ways to manage anxiety that can help relieve the physical symptoms and improve long-term physical health outcomes. Here are some effective methods:

  • Exercise, particularly low-impact exercise such as yoga or walking.
  • Reduce caffeine intake, which can trigger physical anxiety symptoms.
  • Cultivate good sleep habits, such as setting a regular bedtime and avoiding screens in the hour before sleep.
  • Maintain a healthy diet, with a balance of protein, fiber, and healthy fats and carbohydrates.
  • Seek the assistance of a mental health professional to manage long-term anxiety and reduce the risk of chronic physical symptoms.
  • Of all these methods, seeking the assistance of a mental health professional is the most important to the long-term reduction of physical symptoms. With the right treatment, anxiety can be managed and its effects minimized. When seeking professional help, ensure your physician or therapist understands the connection between anxiety and physical health, and can offer holistic care to address both. Looking to further investigate the subject? Kelowna anxiety, we’ve chosen this resource to supplement your learning.


    Anxiety does not exist singly in the mind, but in the whole physical being. It is therefore crucial to manage anxiety in a way that benefits all aspects of health. By taking physical symptoms of anxiety seriously and following effective management steps, those with anxiety conditions can not only reduce their symptoms, but also improve long-term physical health outcomes.

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