What Anxiety Does to Us

Anxiety is a problem that seems to have a way of getting under people’s skin and controlling their minds and bodies. Here are symptoms some people report when they experience anxiety:

  • restlessness or feeling on edge
  • being easily fatigued
  • difficulty concentrating
  • irritability
  • muscle tension
  • problems with sleep such as restless sleep or difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • trembling
  • sweating
  • dizziness
  • rapid heartbeat
  • shaking
  • shortness of breath

People often try to understand these symptoms in terms of their physical health, at least initially and sometimes at other times. Usually these symptoms continue, however, even after reassurance about physical causes. These experiences are usually paired with a sense of dread or worry and may include intrusive memories of traumatic events. Because they are so pervasive, they can have far-reaching effects on a person’s life.

Such experiences often rob people of self-confidence and prevent them from being in touch with their best qualities and possibilities. Given this state of alarm, these worries can often have an impact on people that they then withdraw from social contexts and work and become inactive. Therefore, for some, life with anxiety means a shrinking world, a shrinking life, and often a shrinking sense of security and identity.

Even if a person overcomes anxiety enough to go about her usual routines, she may have feelings of dread and inadequacy, so that her sense of mastery and accomplishment are gone.

Living with anxiety can include feeling that each day will involve a struggle or that restrictions will need to be faced.

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