4 Signs That Your Body Needs You To Deal With Your Stress & Anxiety ASAP

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signs of anxiety

These days, we all live with a degree of stress and anxiety in our lives. It's impossible to avoid in today's fast-paced, high-stakes world.

But if you're feeling stressed out and tired constantly and suffering from the physical signs of anxiety, then you're less likely to prioritize taking care of yourself mentally and physically — which can lead to even greater problems down the road.

So how can you sync your mind and body together to be the best you that you can be?

You first need to become an expert at listening to your own body.

RELATED: 19 Quotes For When Anxiety Feels Completely Overwhelming

Your beautiful, intelligent body can tell you just about everything you need to know about your overall wellness and mental state, as long as you know how to identify and listen to the physical signs of anxiety it's bringing to your attention. Of course, you should consult with your doctor to rule out any medical issues first, but theses bodily cues below can help you recognize your stress levels and encourage you to do something about it.

Here are some common signs of anxiety that your body is trying to tell you:

1. Migraines or tension headaches.

You might be grinding your teeth at night because of the stress going in your life — whether it's at work, at home, in your relationship, or with your friends. This stress and extra tension might manifest itself in the form of a migraine or tension headache the next day.

If you're dealing with these symptoms of stress, be nice to yourself, stay hydrated and get plenty of rest. Maybe this means taking a few nights off from going out with friends this week, taking a relaxing bubble bath this evening, or leaving work a bit early, if possible.

2. Stomach issues.

You've probably heard the express, "Listen to your gut", when it comes to following your intuition. Turns out, this is true for anxiety, too!

If your tummy is feeling uneasy or you have a "butterflies in your stomach" feeling, anxiety might be to blame. This unsettled stomach sensation has been known to activate the fight-flight-freeze phenomenon common to anxiety, which can help us understand why we might be feeling like certain foods do not agree with us, why we are seeking the restroom more often than usual, or why we do not have the same appetite we used to have when we're feeling stressed.

RELATED: 8 Reasons Anxiety Actually Makes Life Better

3. Tense muscles.

Have you ever wondered what was at the root of your muscle pain? It could very well be anxiety manifesting in a particular area of your body. As a therapist, I am trained to know that when I feel my shoulders creeping up to my ears (which for me means that my stress level is increasing), it's time to make sure I take care of myself. 

That's why I often ask my clients how they take care of themselves — because it's hard to feel happy and content when your body isn't getting the love and attention it deserves. 

For example, while going for a massage might seem like a frivolous expense, when you have severe muscle pain, it can be a helpful way to relax and relieve some tension (among other therapies, like acupuncture, chiropractic care, etc.). In fact, I have talked with massage therapists who say many of their clients did not even realize how much tension they were carrying around until they were worked on.

You can also focus on loosening up these tense areas by stretching, doing yoga and engaging in other mindful practices.

4. Fatigue and illness.

I work with professionals from various industries where they often do not realize how hard they are being worked or how stressed they have become until it is too late: They are run down, anxious, over-worked and exhausted — and then, BOOM! They catch a cold or the flu, as a result of their body's inability to function at max capacity.

Not only can stress make you more prone to illness, but it also causes a lack of sleep. And while you may be used to running on empty, here's why you need to take note: Some sleep studies suggest that driving when you are exhausted is similar to driving while under the influence of a substance or medication. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study found that those who sleep for less than 4 hours in a 24-hour period are 11.5 times more likely to crash than those who get the recommended 7 hours of sleep.

RELATED: 30 Reasons People With Anxiety Can't Fall Asleep At Night

Stay safe and take care of your health by learning to recognize your body's signs of anxiety.

When it comes to anxiety and stress, the important conclusions to remember are:

  • Your physical health is important to all aspects of your life — without it, you cannot function optimally. 
  • Your body is a great communicator to your mind - you just need to allow some space to listen when your body is screaming for attention.

The ultimate goal of recognizing anxiety in your body is not just intervening when you start to notice your body not being able to function as well as it normally would, but being able to participate in activities that promote strong bodies and strong minds — like exercise, mindfulness, meditation and healthy eating. By listening to our bodies, we can prevent ailments and promote wellness from the beginning.

Dr. Maxine Langdon Starr is a licensed marriage and family therapist in California specializing in adolescents and young adults. She also has spoken about self-care and self-esteem issues to various community and business organizations, and in universities and k-12 schools. For more information, please visit