What are the exact things anxiety does to your body?
You’re sitting in traffic, late for a very important meeting, watching the clock tick away. In moments like this one, your hypothalamus, a tiny control tower located in your brain, decides to take action by sending out the order: Release the stress hormones!
These stress hormones are what make you feel anxious and are the same ones that activate your body’s “fight or flight” response. Your breath quickens, your muscles are ready for action, and your heart races. This kind of natural response was meant to protect your body in an emergency by making you ready to react quickly. But these are only a few of the things anxiety does to your body.
And there’s also something we all should be aware of: when the stress response keeps discharging day after day, it could put your overall well-being at serious risk.
Stress is a natural mental and physical reaction to life’s experiences. Everyone experiences stress or anxiety from time to time. Anything from day-to-day responsibilities like family and work to serious life events such as the death of a loved one, a new diagnosis, or war can trigger stress and anxiety.
In fact, experts point out that in immediate, short-term situations, stress can actually be beneficial to your health. The things anxiety does to your body can sometimes help you cope with potentially serious situations. Basically, your body responds to stress by releasing certain hormones that increase your breathing and heart rates and prepare your muscles to respond.
However, if stress and anxiety become routine in your life and stress levels remain elevated far longer than is vital for survival, it can really affect your health.
Before looking into the things anxiety does to your body, it’s important to distinguish between the most common forms of anxiety.