Chronic Worry: 3 Effects on Your Health and How to Deal with It
Chronic worry not only affects you psychologically, but it can also interfere with your physical health and even weaken your immune system.
Chronic worry is a very common psychological problem today. As you can imagine, it’s almost always characterized by stress and pressure.
Chronic worry is similar to anxiety, a symptom that can cause a lot of physical and emotional exhaustion on the part of a person who suffers from it every day.
It’s like a mental storm, a bottomless pit that you fall into every day where you can’t stop thinking about certain things that haven’t even happened – or are simply part of the past.
These situations – when the mind seems determined to suffer or obsess over certain things – weaken your productivity. As a result, it reduces your quality of life.
It’s also important to remember that worrying isn’t useful as a method of dealing with problems.
Why not? When you worry too much, you start to feel negative and helpless. Then you stop being productive because you’re not focused on more practical strategies.
It’s also important to remember one essential detail: chronic worry can have a very significant impact on your health.
Let’s look at some of its effects and how to more effectively deal with it.
1. Muscle tension due to chronic worry
Everyone has experienced this before. It’s the end of the day and you notice that the muscles in your neck and jaw are much tighter and painfully tense.
Most of the time, you might not be aware of the many biological reactions that worry can trigger.
- When you worry too much during the day, your brain begins to release cortisol into your bloodstream, the stress hormone.
- Cortisol serves to prepare you to fight or flight.
- Your brain also starts sending energy and blood to your muscles to prepare you to respond.
- This generates tension in your muscles and joints, as well as headaches, stomach aches, dizziness…
What can you do to reduce muscle tension?
You know that the source of your tension is excessive worry. Your strategy, therefore, is to begin to work through these obsessive and fruitless thoughts.
Reducing the impact of anxiety, worry, and stress requires putting the following tips into practice:
- High intensity, short duration exercises. You need to release energy, channel it, and tire your body to calm your mind.
- You can choose the exercise that’s best suited for you – but remember that if you have a muscle cramp you should be more careful.
- A series of sit-ups, walking on a treadmill, or even a Zumba class can be very helpful.
2. Chronic fatigue and worry
This happens to most people at some point: the mental anguish, the worry and anxiety that you don’t know how to manage all end up impacting your body.
The mind is what consumes all your energy, chipping away at your spirit and even your desire to carry out your daily activities.
Little by little, you become a victim of that vicious and exhausting cycle. Your physical exhaustion and chronic worry imprison you.
What can you do to reduce the impact of that fatigue?
One positive way to address your worries is by applying what is known as “scheduled worry time.” It involves the following:
- Set a time during the day when you can find a solution for your worries.
- When a disruptive thought appears, say to yourself, “now is not the time to give you power over me, I’ll think about you when I finish my work.”
- All worry can be used for something to find a solution. If what you’re worried about doesn’t have a solution, then it doesn’t make sense to put time and energy into it.
- It’s also important that you never take your worries to bed with you.
Read also 10 physical signs of an anxiety disorder
3. Chronic worry weakens your immune system
Worrying about a project at work, and interview, or for that conference coming up is both natural and understandable.
The real problem arises when worry becomes a part of every day and occupies all of your thoughts.
- If these reflections and concerns are always negative, it can have a direct impact on your health.
- Not only do your cortisol levels go up, but your adrenaline also rises.
- Your whole body is set on “alert” because your brain believes there is a threat to respond to.
- All your biological resources and energy go to your muscles and brain. Other systems, like your immune system, are totally neglected.
- This causes you to stop being able to respond to viruses and bacteria, so you’re more sensitive to infections, colds, allergies…
What can you do to take care of your immune system?
Don’t leave for tomorrow what worries you today – don’t let that snowball get bigger and don’t put off what might have a solution.
When you suffer from periods of stress and anxiety, try to take care of your diet by eating fresh and natural products and avoiding precooked foods that are high in saturated fats.
Be social, share your worries with other people, and lean on your friends to lessen the focus of your anxiety and downplay what you’re obsessing over or seeing in a negative light.
Get exercise outside for at least half an hour each day. Breathe, activate your circulation, relieve muscle tension, and free your mind.
To conclude, we’ve seen that you can confront chronic worry in many different ways. Find a strategy that works best for you and start channeling your anxiety to enjoy a happier life.