We all have that friend who is just an absolute worry-wart. They are constantly busy and fearful of impending deadlines and events. Yes, that friend. You might even be that friend. It’s alright, we don’t judge here. Instead, we’re here to help. 

Chronic worrying can affect your daily life in so many ways. It might affect your life to the point that your relationships and job performance are disturbed according to WebMD. To cope, many people who worry excessively seek out relief in harmful lifestyle habits. To make things worse, this chronic-worry can also lead to potentially fatal health problems.

What should be done about this worrying? Well, this article can give you some insight into some of the effects of worrying (and by extension anxiety and stress) on your body. We’ll also help you out by giving you some tips on how to deal with this worry. Hopefully, this will allow you to keep it under control.

Stress and Anxiety as a Symptom of Worry

Worry

Worrying is defined as a feeling of uneasiness or of being overly concerned about a situation or problem (WebMD). What most people won’t tell you though is that with excessive worrying, your mind and body go into overdrive as you constantly focus on “what might happen” or “what can go wrong”.

Anxiety

WebMD explains that “in the midst of excessive worrying, you may suffer from high anxiety — even panic — during waking hours. Many chronic worriers speak of feeling a sense of impending doom or unrealistic fears that only increase their worries. Ultra-sensitive to their environment and to the criticism of others, excessive worriers may see anything — and anyone — as a potential threat”. If you constantly worry and experience some of these other symptoms, you might have anxiety.

Stress

Stress is another extension of your worry and anxiety.

It is your body’s response to an actual or perceived threat of any form of danger. Some of the stress we as humans experience is good for us and drives us to take action, like the stress that causes us to study harder for a test. Too much stress, however, can have horrid effects on you.

Symptoms of Worrying:

Chronic worry and anxiety can be wrapped up in one person, which can trigger a host of physical health problems. One part of it is that when you experience worry and anxiety constantly, such as waiting in line at the grocery store or a pile-up on the highway to work, your stress response is triggered. This will give your body the constant perception that it is up against a challenge.

The second part of it is that when you worry your fight or flight response is triggered. When it is triggered often by excessive worrying and anxiety, problems occur. As maintained by WebMD, this response will cause the body’s sympathetic nervous system to release stress hormones like cortisol. Hormones such as these can boost blood sugar levels and triglycerides (blood fats), which the body uses as fuel. The physical reactions to these excessive unused hormones as a result of your anxiety and worry triggering stress can be dizziness, fatigue, muscle aches, irritability, trembling, and more according to Healthline.

The most fatal can be the suppression of the immune system and heart disease, which can lead to a heart attack.

Suppression of the Immune System

Your immune system allows for your body to protect itself from illness and disease on a regular basis. A 2012 study found that chronic psychological stress can prevent the body from properly functioning in the form of regulating the inflammatory response. Inflammation correlates with the development and progression of many horrible diseases like diabetes. People who expose themselves to long periods of stress are more likely to develop the flu upon exposure to the germs that cause the flu.

These prolonged periods of worry, anxiety, and stress can lead to many trips to the doctor’s office later in life. A study found that 60 to 80 percent of doctor’s office visits may be stress-related. So, to save you a trip to the doctor’s office, it’s better to tell you now that your symptoms might be related to stress.

Heart Disease or Heart Attack

You may not know this, but, as claimed by Healthline, stress from worry and anxiety can lead to heart problems. Research has found that stress in general, long-term or temporary, can increase the risk of heart disease. How it works is that the stress raises your blood pressure and cholesterol, which correlates with heart disease. As a consequence, stress can also significantly increase your risk of dying from a heart attack.

How to Avoid Worrying

Healthline advises therapy and medication, which are the two main treatments for anxiety. If you experience physical symptoms of worry, anxiety, and stress, therapy or medication that improves your anxiety may be the improvement you need for these symptoms.

If you’d prefer, you can also take action on your own to address your symptoms of anxiety.

Daily exercise can be a great alternative to therapy and medication that may even have some added fitness benefits. With your doctor’s approval, you can begin a regular exercise program. The chemicals produced during moderate exercise can be potentially beneficial for enhancing the function of the immune system and releasing serotonin into your brain, which is good for positive emotions. Regular aerobic exercise can also be a very effective way to train your body to deal with stress under controlled circumstances according to WebMD.

Eating right can also have positive effects on your body when you worry or have extreme anxiety and stress.

Keeping a balanced diet that consists of not too much, but also not too little food, can help you keep yourself well-nourished when dealing with these problems. Cutting caffeine out of your diet will be helpful too.

Don’t Worry About it

A Moderate amount of worry, anxiety, and stress are totally normal, but in excess, they can have adverse effects on your body. Heart disease and a weak immune system are just two examples of these adverse physical effects. Remember this the next time you are being a worrywart, so that you can save your body and mind from chaos.

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