Skip to content

11 Subtle Signs of Anxiety You Might Not Notice

Anxiety is a natural and healthy feeling all humans experience, says Ravi Shah, M.D., a psychiatrist at ColumbiaDoctors and assistant professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center. “It’s absolutely healthy to have some anxiety. It helps us perform better,” he says. “If you’re worried you have a test tomorrow, that’s good; it makes you study.”

Related: 5 Simple Habits to Manage Your Anxiety

He says anxiety becomes problematic either when the worry is disproportionate to the issue at hand (such as an otherwise healthy young person who thinks chest pain is a heart attack) or when it interferes with daily life. “If worry is driving you forward, I’m a little bit worried about a test. I studied, that’s OK,” Shah says. “If worry is holding you back and you get paralyzed by fear—you’re avoiding things or you’re spending time worried about the assignment but not actually able to do the assignment—that’s when it’s a problem.”

He says the following are signs you might be struggling with anxiety:

  1. Worrying most of the day.
  2. Muscle tension due to worry.
  3. Feeling on edge most of the time.
  4. Physical symptoms due to anxiety, such as a racing heart, inability to catch your breath, shaking or sweating.
  5. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome that worsens with anxiety.
  6. Avoiding things you otherwise would do because of anxiety or fear.
  7. Inability to relax even when there is nothing stressful going on.
  8. Inability to sleep due to ruminating.
  9. Feeling that worry is in an anxious “loop” that repeats itself.
  10. Trouble concentrating due to worry.
  11. Inability to let a concern go or push it aside.

The good news? Whether it’s a low dose of medication or talk therapy, anxiety is easy to treat. “Of all the problems in mental health to have, anxiety is in a way a good one because it’s very treatable. The evidence is good, and it really works,” Shah says.

Related: Is Therapy Right for You?
 

This article originally appeared in the July 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.

+ posts

Jamie Friedlander is a freelance writer based in Chicago and the former features editor of SUCCESS magazine. Her work has been published in The Cut, VICE, Inc., The Chicago Tribune and Business Insider, among other publications. When she's not writing, she can usually be found drinking matcha tea into excess, traveling somewhere new with her husband or surfing Etsy late into the night.

1 Comment

  1. David Johnson on May 22, 2019 at 9:07 pm

    Before reading this, I had not considered as deeply that there are physical symptoms due to anxiety, such as a racing heart or the inability to catch your breath. In my opinion, if these symptoms reoccurred it would be important to seek help from an expert so that you don\’t have to go through life with these feeling constantly close by. I\’ll have to look more into anxiety counseling services.

Leave a Comment