Signs of Stress and Anxiety

Knowing the physical signs of stress and anxiety is important

What is the state of our mental health? This can be more difficult to recognize than you may think, especially when you are not checking in on yourself often.  Anxiety and other mental health conditions can creep up without notice, causing self-doubt, feelings of shame or blame, and high stress.  Often, we isolate ourselves, because we think it’s silly or that we are weak.  Many people experience the pain of anxiety or stress in silence and don’t seek help until physical signs of their condition take place.

It is imperative to be aware of your mental health condition before physical symptoms occur.  Knowing the physical signs of stress and anxiety is important to prevent further illness and decrease in overall health.  

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What are the physical signs of stress? 

When a person is experiencing severe stress, anxiety, depression or trauma, physical symptoms of this pain will begin to show if not treated. Some of the indications of this includes but are not limited to: 

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Belly aches 
  • Back pains
  • Chronic Digestive Issues
  • Tremors and shaking 
  • High blood pressure 

These signs will usually progress until a change is made.  Knowing these signs, as well as others, might be from your anxiety will help you identify when it is time to seek help. 

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How does mental health and anxiety affect physical health? 

Human bodies have stress responses to help keep us healthy and safe. These stress responses are designed for us to move away from what is unsafe or dangerous so that we can continue to survive. 

Often, we grow up in situations that are unsafe. This can mean being exposed to an unstable home environment, being abused or neglected, or even something seemingly more simple such as being told to not cry or being left alone for a period as a baby.  We learn to override our mental signals that are telling us to fight or flight since we were taught to adapt these behaviors as normal in order to survive. 

What is tough to realize, is that these sensors don’t stop just because we push them away in our mind. Eventually, our body will alert us physically so that we stop these behaviors  – and pay attention to what is causing the pain or discomfort.  If we also continue to ignore these symptoms, the physical or emotional anguish can become chronic and manifest as illness. It is important to become aware of how and when we ignore our minds and bodies so that we can learn to move forward in a safe and healthy way.

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How can I prevent illness as a result of anxiety?

It is truly vital to check in with yourself routinely to try to understand what may be causing stress and anxiety in your life. Most times, we are not even aware of what is triggering us, or what is too stressful, so don’t be alarmed if it is difficult to verbalize.  

Identifying the stressors and changing/ removing them from your life is the first step, but it’s often overwhelming, and under stress, it’s impossible to be creative or to think about anything other than surviving.    Even socializing with friends, creating something, or exercising, can feel overwhelming.   If you are feeling this way, you are not alone.  It’s ok to ask for help and look for the support you need. 

Dealing with stress and anxiety is very difficult, and working with a trained professional can help you identify and process what you’re going through in a structured and safe way. 

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Integrative Equine Therapy for Anxiety and Stress

Beachwood Center for Wellbeing can help. We provide Integrative Equine Therapy (IET) to help identify and alleviate anxiety, grief, depression and trauma. This protocol, designed by our founder, Lynne Bryan Phipps, helps connect and retrain neural pathways in the brain. As soon as the first session, clients have exclaimed they have felt better both mentally and physically. 

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