Recognising the Physical Effects of Anxiety*

 *this post was written by a contributor*

It’s safe to say that this pandemic has made people more aware than ever of the importance of looking after their mental health. Long periods of isolation, coupled with concerns about friends and family members all lead to a lot of stress and anxiety, so it’s important that you take check in with yourself now and again, and take steps to manage your anxiety. The problem is, a lot of folks don’t realise that they are struggling with anxiety, especially if they have never suffered from it before. 

Photo by Team Maestroo from Pexels

The most obvious symptom is anxious thoughts, but anxiety actually manifests itself in a lot of different ways and it’s important that you know how to recognise some of the other signs. And the physical signs of it often get overlooked. Here are a few of them, so you can keep an eye out… 

Stomach Problems 

Your mental health and gut health are closely linked and when you are feeling anxious, it’s very common to have stomach problems. You may feel nauseous, and you can develop a lot of issues with digestion as well. It may not always be down to anxiety of course, and you should consider whether your diet could be causing it, but if you haven’t changed anything about your lifestyle and you suddenly start getting stomach problems, that’s a sign that you may be feeling very anxious. 

Vision Problems 

Most people don’t realise that stress and anxiety can lead to vision problems. When you feel very anxious, your body releases a lot of adrenaline and this puts pressure on your eyes, causing blurred vision. If you do notice that your vision is changing, it’s important to get your eyes tested and invest in a pair of specs (you can get some affordable ones at if necessary. There are a lot of other reasons for vision problems so you should rule those out first, but if you find that your vision is blurred and you can’t find any other medical reason for it, it could be down to anxiety. 


Tension headaches are very common in people that are stressed and anxious. The muscles in your neck, shoulders and scalp tighten when you are stressed and this is what causes the headaches. If you do some stretches to relax your muscles and relieve that tension, you will notice a big difference and your headaches should go away. Check out for some simple stretches that will help to loosen up your muscles. 


Everybody gets a bit tired sometimes but if you always feel like you don’t have any energy, there is probably something else going on. There are a few reasons why anxiety causes fatigue; firstly, your brain can run out of energy just like any other muscle so when you are very anxious, you will always feel tired. Anxiety causes your body to release a lot of adrenaline and your heart rate increases, but when this adrenaline runs out, you experience a crash and start to feel very fatigued. The physical impact on your muscles also leads to tiredness because your muscles are constantly tense all day long and they get worn out. In some cases, tiredness is a coping mechanism from your body because, by making you feel tired, your body hopes that you will take a break and recuperate. Sleep problems are also common in people with anxiety. It’s important that you find ways to improve your sleep patterns if you want to beat anxiety-induced fatigue. 

Chest Pains 

Chest pains are one of the scariest physical symptoms of anxiety. If you experience chest pains, it’s important that you see a doctor because there could be something more serious going on. However, a lot of the time, it’s down to anxiety. When you are anxious, it can affect your breathing so you take a lot of short, sharp breaths, which can cause the chest muscles to spasm and lead to chest pains. Anxiety also causes your heart to beat a lot faster and that extra stress on the heart leads to pains as well. When you are already feeling anxious and you start getting chest pains, it’s easy to jump to the worst case scenario and start worrying that something is seriously wrong, and this will only make your anxiety worse. 

Often, the physical effects of anxiety are more of an issue than the anxious thoughts but people don’t make the connection between the two. You need to watch out for these physical symptoms and take steps to reduce your anxiety if you notice them. 


posts you've really liked.