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Is Anxiety Making You Ill?

Struggling to get out of bed in the morning. Tired all the time. Persistent stomach pains and irritable bowel. Frequent headaches. Many people are all too familiar with these symptoms. But how many of us realise that anxiety can often be at the root of physical problems such as these? *

Chronic anxiety can have an effect on physical health and well-being. Research shows that it is often linked with aches, pains, irritable bowel and tiredness.

So how can anxiety lead to poor health?

When in danger or experiencing stress the body releases adrenaline in order to prepare for ‘fight or flight’. However, experiencing high levels of anxiety throughout the day means adrenaline is constantly being released and this can take a real toll on the body. It can lead to physical problems such as stomach ache, restlessness, rapid breathing, panic, sweating, irritable bowel and fast heartbeat. Coping with these symptoms as well as managing feelings of anxiety can be physically and mentally draining. Not sleeping often goes hand in hand with anxiety. Failing to get enough sleep on a regular basis can lead to feeling exhausted.

Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to manage anxiety and improve overall well-being.

1. Reflect on the causes Instead of automatically reacting, it can be helpful to slow down and become aware of what is happening in our environment that is causing us stress. It can be challenging to do this – often the focus is on just coping and moving forward. However, untangling what is underneath our feelings is an important step in beginning to tackle anxiety.

2. Reduce stress Some situations and relationships are draining or stressful while others are inspiring and supportive. It is not always possible to avoid negativity, but surrounded ourselves with those who boost energy rather than those who draw from it can be helpful in reducing overall levels of stress.

3. Learn to relax It can be hard to let go of outside stimulation from tv, tablets, mobiles etc. but shutting off outside distractions for even a short period on a regular basis allows for true relaxation. To feel really refreshed it is important to rest in peaceful surroundings without distraction.

4. Take time for ourselves It is important to take time to do things which are enjoyable and relaxing. Whether it's a nice walk, listening to music, meeting friends, yoga or even just a hot bath. Everyone is different, so find what works and commit to including it in the daily routine.

5. Take care of ourselves This may sound obvious but many people really do neglect their basic needs. Taking care of the body can have a positive effect on overall psychological well-being. Getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, having a balanced healthy diet and reducing intake of caffeine and sugar can all have a noticeable effect on mood.

Nobody has to resign themselves to feeling anxious, exhausted or in pain. I'm always happy to talk about how life can be better.

Make a change today.

Have a great week, Jane

Newbridge, Co. Kildare

Portlaoise, Co. Laois 085 2016904 www.janejustincounselling.ie info@janejustincounselling.ie

* If you are experiencing symptoms such as those discussed here it is important to consult with your GP.

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