3 Physical Symptoms of Anxiety

Think anxiety is something that only affects your mental health? Think again, moments of high stress can bring about very real physical symptoms. Here’s three things you didn’t know are caused by anxiety.

Unfortunately we live in a world where anxiety attacks are common and plentiful. We bet you’ve either suffered with them yourself or have seen friends go through it – but did you know that there are some very common physical symptoms. Taking control can help with anxiety so understanding which physical symptoms are the result of stress can help you do just that.

“Anxiety is the feeling you have when you think that something unpleasant is going to happen in the future. Other words such as feeling ‘apprehensive’, ‘uncertain’, ‘nervous’ and ‘on edge’ also provide a good description of feelings linked to anxiety,” explains Nicky Lidbetter, CEO of Anxiety UK, in her guide Understanding Anxiety.

“Anxiety is completely normal and something that all human beings experience from time to time,” says Nicky. So understanding the science behind what’s going on can help to normalise the situation.

Shortness of breath

Experiencing a shortness of breath isn’t necessarily a sign that you need to work on your cardio, it can also be a very real result of an anxiety attack. When we feel under pressure, our body responds by going into flight or fight mode. Which means our body starts to pump more bloody to the heart, resulting in the feeling of hyperventilation.  We also have a tendency to over breath in moments of high stress which can lead to a shortness of breath.


Just like with shortness of breath, when we’re stressed we go into flight or fight mode and our heart works overtime. When the heart is pumping harder our bloody pressure rises which can result in a feeling of dizziness.

Feeling butterflies

It’s not only at moments of high excitement that we start to feel butterflies. When we’re stressed or in a state of worry our body responds by withdrawing blood and energy from areas it’s not needed. Such as the stomach – which is the butterfly feeling. This is why we sometimes need the loo very suddenly. Our body feels under attack so is quite literally getting rid of anything it doesn’t need. This one is definitely a reminder of just how clever our bodies are!


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