Do you have hidden anxiety? Yes, chronic stress can end up eating away at you until you feel like there’s nothing left. But is that chronic stress causing anxiety on a deeper level? Unfortunately, stress can affect your health, your relationships, your job, and especially your mood. So finding a way to manage your stress is an important part of making sure it doesn’t become overwhelming.
When you’re stressed out, you can feel it. Your emotions run wild, you feel constantly drained, and it seems like you can’t catch a break. But anxiety can also cause you to experience these same symptoms. Often masquerading as stress, anxiety causes feelings of fear, panic, tension, sleeplessness, and irritability. (1)
Here are seven signs that your stress is actually hidden anxiety:
1. Constant Worry
Anxiety causes constant worry. In particular, anxiety makes you feel like everything is out of your control and things are absolutely going to go wrong. Sure, stress can cause worry, but anxiety is characterized by a feeling of constant, consistent worry.
Insomnia is a common symptom of anxiety. Can you sleep when you’re worried? The constant stress, worry and tension you feel can make it difficult to quiet your mind and fall asleep at night. The lack of sleep becomes extremely detrimental to both your psychological and your physical well-being. (2)
Panic attacks can be caused by chronic anxiety. You see, the constant worry you experience on a day-to-day basis eventually becomes so overwhelming that even a small event can trigger a terrifying attack. (3)
4. Stomach Problems
You know that pit in your stomach when you’re feeling anxious? Well, that feeling can be a physical symptom of anxiety. And chronic indigestion and other stomach problems are the results. Unfortunately, anxiety can end up manifesting through stomach pain, cramping, constipation, upset stomach and bloating.
Of course, most people have bad dreams every once in a while, but constant nightmares may be a sign of anxiety. Anxiety nightmares often take the form of natural disasters, falling from heights, being chased, or losing loved ones. (4)
6. Compulsive Behaviors
Anxiety can case you to pick up compulsive behaviors. For example, you might start to wash your hands obsessively, tie your shoes when you take them off, or stick to an exact routine every morning. Anything you do because your mind believes you have to do it may be considered a compulsive behavior. (5)
7. Lack Of Confidence
Lack of confidence can stem from anxiety. Specifically, the constant negative thoughts you experience may end up leading to low self-esteem and feelings of not being good enough. Lack of confidence is a common symptoms of anxiety. And, unfortunately, it’s a feedback loop. (6)
So how can you curb your hidden anxiety? Well, supporting your gut and your brain are two ways to start.
I Heart Intelligence
University of Michigan Medicine