Why do we get physical symptoms from anxiety?
Anxiety activates our stress response which you might have heard before as “fight or flight”. When we enter fight or flight our body can’t differ if we are being chased by a bear or having a panic attack so we go into this survival reaction which puts the body into a “emergency action”. This response is GREAT when there is real danger but not so fun when it is from anxiety aka allll the physical symptoms you feel for no reason.
Now, let’s dive into each symptom and exactly WHY it happens.
Heart Palpitations & Anxiety. Heart palpitations, can be rapid, racing beats, skipped, missed, uneven heartbeats. (And trust me I have felt them alllll). This symptom can come and go, occur frequently, or persist most of the time. It can happen following a episode of high nervousness, fear, elevated stress or just “out of the blue” for no reason (which is usually the reason most people get so stuck in thinking “this can be anxiety I wasn’t even feeling anxious right now” trust me I get it). The stress response we talked about above is initiated a lot of the time in people who struggle with anxiety. Part of everyone’s stress response includes stimulating the heart rate to circulate blood throughout the body so that it is better equipped to deal with the threat (remember your body goes into fight or flight from anxiety but can differ if its running from a bear Or just having a panic attack). The body is gearing up for emergency action which causes this stress response and change in blood flow (our bodies Are actually really freaking smart and amazing how they just want to always protect us). NOW, you might ask me often “I wasn’t even anxious, WHY am I feeling symptoms”.
So when the stress responses occur too frequently (lots of panic attacks) the body has a more difficult time recovering back to not living in emergency action. THEREFORE, this can leave the body. In a semi-emergency readiness which is called stress-response hyperstimulation. This is why symptoms may occur even when you are not anxious, your body is so used to being in a emergency ready state of mind. BUT, this isn’t permanent you can get out of this cycle.
(This content is shared directly from @health_anxiety instagram page, they do no have any affiliation with SoulFlo Therapy, follow them for more great content.)