Most anxiety triggers evolve into a physical manifestation or a noticeable psychological response. You sweat, you are worried, your heart races…. If you have anxiety chances are you have experienced one or all of those symptoms. There are long term effects to anxiety that can impact you in unexpected ways. You might be having one of these struggles at a moment when you are not in the throes of anxiety. However, repeated bouts of anxiety effect one’s cognitive ability, to varying degrees.
Anxiety can affect your memory. Anxiety impacts your ability to focus and that can have a deteriorating effect on your ability to consolidate memories and hinder recall. This isn’t to say that it’s a prelude to a deeper psychological condition or deteriorating of your memory but lack of focus can impact quick queues you need for memory. A classic example of this is remembering someone’s name. Do you get anxious meeting new people? Do you have trouble remembering new people’s names? I sure do.
Anxiety can harm your self-esteem. Having anxiety means you are acutely aware of how you feel and because of our social construct you are aware that it’s not excepted as normal. This can begin to erode away your self-esteem and cause you to exhibit withdraw like symptoms such as changing how you dress, where you look when you are in a crowd and the tone of your voice when speaking to others. These are often subtle but real. Next time you are in a crowd of people, be aware of where your eyes are. Are you looking at the ground? Or are you engaging people head up with eye contact?
Anxiety can impact your immune system. The more you worry the more your nervous system demands resources from your body to accommodate your mind. When something negative happens in your life do you a day or two later end up with the sniffles? This is pretty common actually, the brain demands a lot from your body and this is why it is so important to get enough sleep and eat well. Your immune system can be over taxed very easily, there are germs everywhere and if you’re worried you are sending your immune system into battle with one hand tied behind its back.
Anxiety could cause you to have a “break out”. Now this is often exclusive to younger people, however from time to time even those of us well into our adult lives get acne. Worry and anxiety can tax your immune system and one of the results of this can be a break out of acne. I remember when I was a teenager WAY BACK in the dark days of the 80’s we had all sorts of acne medicine you could by over the counter. I used to get break outs from time to time and upon reflection it was often when I was anxious. That anxiety was a neurological trigger for me that pumped out hormones and as a result I had break outs creating EVEN MORE anxiety.
Anxiety sucks, it’s not cut and dry as to how it affects you and what your triggers are. Just remember no matter how bad it gets, or how crappy you feel, there are millions of us out there who have it. You aren’t alone. This post was more a pep talk really, from someone suffering through some if not all of the above. If I can make it, so can you. One day at a time, you got this !