Do you live with anxiety? Have you ever thought about how much anxiety impacts your day to day life? Long-term sufferers of anxiety might not even realise how their lives have been affected by their condition.

We know that anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental illnesses in the US. Statistics estimate they affect around 40 million adults every year. This only accounts for the people who have sought treatment. There are many more people living with anxiety who are trying to cope alone.

At its worst, severe anxiety means fears are dramatically out of proportion with the actual event. This can be totally distressing and debilitating which leads to isolation and depression.   

When we live with anxiety long-term, it can be difficult to recognise the changes in thoughts and behaviour we experience. Perhaps these changes have come to feel normal. It can be surprising to learn about how anxiety is really affecting you day to day.  

How does anxiety impact your body?

Anxiety leaves us in a state of worry, fear and nervousness. But it doesn’t just manifest in the mind. 

Anxiety has physical symptoms such as:

  • Sweaty palms
  • Quickened heart rate
  • Palpitations 
  • Feeling nauseous
  • Shaking legs
  • Headaches
  • Rapid breathing
  • Sleep issues

Anxiety is the body’s response to stress. Our body is primed for action and dealing with threats. However, although we might not need to escape a sabre-toothed tiger anymore, a little bit of anxiety is useful for prompting us to pay our rent or meet a deadline. 

The problem is our bodies aren’t designed to be in a state of constant high alert. This can negatively affect our body causing tense muscles, headaches and upsetting our digestion. More seriously, anxiety has been identified as a risk factor contributing to cardiovascular disease. Due to this, it is important to seek help for anxiety. If you recognise any of these symptoms, speak to a medical practitioner for some support and coping strategies.   

How does anxiety affect your mind?

Anxiety can feel like worries are endlessly swimming round our minds. This prevents us from thinking clearly or being able to focus on tasks. It can be impossible to try and concentrate at work or feel like we are unable to achieve even the most basic tasks.  

Anxiety isn’t just worrying. It’s perfectly normal to worry about things from time to time. But with anxiety, these worries are persistent, and seem to invade every aspect of our lives. 

Some of the ways anxiety affects mental wellbeing include:

  • Having feelings of impending doom
  • Intrusive or distressing thoughts
  • Irrational thoughts
  • Confusion
  • Memory problems
  • Nightmares and disturbed sleep patterns

Anxiety actually alters how you think and your perception of events. If a stranger makes eye contact, some people would think nothing of it. For someone with anxiety, it can set off a train of fears and worries that they are being judged or disapproved of. 

How does anxiety affect your relationships?

Anxiety doesn’t just impact our mental and physical wellbeing. It can affect our relationships too. Anxiety can make you question everything! From how people look at you, to how they respond or even their tone of voice. This can make conversations exhausting as you try to second-guess people or work out exactly why they said something.

Anxiety can affect relationships because:

  • You cancel plans at the last minute
  • You think other people don’t like you
  • You avoid parties and social events
  • You are afraid to ask for support
  • You over analyse everything

Because of this, friends might not always understand your behaviour. This confusion can lead to them taking a step back and feeling reluctant to invite you out. This means we miss out on opportunities and don’t experience the richness of living life to the full. Saying no when we really want to say yes can be upsetting and cause serious fear of missing out.  

On the positive side, when we are open and honest about anxiety, it can lead to secure and trusting relationships. Talking about anxiety might feel tricky, but when others know what you are going through, they can understand you and take your needs into account. This makes it a whole lot less awkward if you need to cancel plans at the last minute.  

How does anxiety impact your mood?

Anxiety can affect brain chemicals which alters your mood. Anxiety can result in severe mood swings that impact daily life and relationships. These mood swings are the result of neurotransmitters in the brain and hormones. Your brain chemistry can make anxiety sufferers more susceptible to extreme moods.  

Because anxiety impacts your lifestyle and how you interact with others, it can contribute to mood swings. Feeling unable to join in with social events can be upsetting and our coping mechanisms can get all out of whack. 

Coping strategies for anxiety

Easing a mood swing

Trying to recognise when a mood swing is imminent can help you become aware of negative thought patterns. Then you can take steps to remove yourself from the situation and calm down. Think about whether the extreme mood is justified and take a moment to be still. This can help ease stressful feelings and bring a touch of clarity.

Rely on your ripple+

Grounding yourself is a great technique for easing anxiety symptoms. Your favourite ripple+ diffuser is a useful tool for connecting you with your senses and bringing you back into the current moment. Aromatherapy has long been associated with anxiety relief. And the powerful essential oils in our ripple+ puffs can transport your mind to a peaceful oasis of calm. Engage all your senses as you inhale the aromatic scents and feel a sense of relaxation as you exhale. This mindfulness technique is great for using when you are on the go, when you need a break at work or if you are feeling anxiety start to take hold. Wherever you are, remember that your ripple+ has got your back.

Self-care at all times!

Don’t neglect self-care. If you’ve not already got one, try and build a self-care routine that fits into your lifestyle. Check out our self-care blog for more ideas. Anxiety takes a toll on the mind and body, so looking after both is essential. Mental wellbeing can be supported by a regular meditation practice. This gives your overworked brain to switch down a gear or two. If you’ve never tried meditation, or think it isn’t for you, you’ll be surprised at how many apps are out there to help you get started.

Prioritising shuteye sessions is paramount. Sleep is vital for our health and wellbeing. Anxiety can play havoc with our sleeping patterns. Getting into a good sleep routine and snoozing for at least 7 hours a night is highly recommended. Waking up refreshed and ready for anything is a real energy boost that can help propel you through the day. And don’t forget your ripple+ BOOST whenever you need a lil’ pick-me-up. Whatever you need to feel happier, make it a focus.