Anxiety and Headaches
If you experience high anxiety or stress, it’s very likely that you also experience headaches, or even migraines. Some describe their headaches as dull pain or a tight band around their heads. A migraine is usually experienced in more severity, sometimes associated with sensitivity to light, sound, and movement.
The most common of all the various headache types is a tension headache. This is caused by a tightening of the muscles in the upper back, neck, and head. Many cite anxiety as a major trigger for this type of headache.
Anxiety can make tension headaches worse by increasing muscle tension, flooding the body with stress chemicals (such as adrenaline), and reducing the amount of “relaxation” chemicals (such as endorphins) in the body.
It’s beyond the scope of this course to discuss in detail possible cures for headaches, but I’ll briefly summarize some short- and long-term solutions. Your doctor is best able to advise you on how to treat your particular headache.
Short-term treatment options to provide pain relief include the following:
- Painkillers, such as aspirin or paracetamol (acetaminophen)
- Heat treatment, such as a long soak in a hot bath
- Ice packs to the face
- A scalp, neck, and shoulder massage
- Microcurrent (TENS) and magnetic therapy
- Stress-relieving activities, such as relaxation, meditation, or hypnosis
If you feel your headache is directly related to stress and anxiety, then the best long-term strategy is to reduce the amount of anxiety you experience.
Research has found that regular exercise can relieve muscle tension and help alleviate stress-related symptoms, such as tension headaches, and should also be included in your long-term strategy. Aerobic exercise—such as cycling, swimming, or walking—are good examples.
Weak Legs/Jelly Legs and Anxiety
Anxiety creates the sensation of weak or “jelly” legs. When anxious, adrenaline is released into your body. The adrenaline can make sensitive people feel very weak in their muscles—especially the leg muscles, because they’re supporting the body. You often hear people say that when they have to stand up and speak, they go weak at the knees and fear they might topple over. It’s important to note, however, that the jittery sensation you may feel in your legs is not a signal that your legs are any weaker—they’re not. In fact, your legs are being primed for movement, so don’t fear that they’ll go out from under you.
If you’re out walking, then continue to walk; if you’re standing in a line, then continue to stand. There’s no need to find a place to sit, and doing so often reinforces your anxiety about weak legs.
If you train yourself to continue to do what you were doing, you’ll quickly learn that the sensation of weak legs is an illusion and your legs are strong and well capable of supporting your body.
For example, if you feel your legs go weak, you may jump to extreme conclusions:
Weak legs mean I’ll fall over—and that means I must be about to faint!
When you think like this, the anxiety can then trick you into feeling dizzy, thereby creating an even greater cycle of anxiety. The answer, as you’re now well aware, lies in accepting the sensation and moving on.
Don’t try to wish the sensation away or pretend that it doesn’t exist. Simply say this to your body:
Okay, legs, I understand you’re feeling a bit weak. But I really don’t feel it’s something serious, so I’m going to finish my walk regardless.
By not retreating, you build up your confidence to the point where you’re not bothered by the sensation—which, in turn, creates less anxiety, resulting in fewer occurrences of weak legs.
For more tips on how can I stop my anxiety without using medication, watch the following 3 videos –
By Barry McDonagh, who is an international panic disorder coach. He created the Panic Away program to help people around the world deal with their anxiety and avoid panic attacks – a subject that he is personally attuned to because he himself found that he was prone to these issues since he was young. His hatred of his powerless lead him down the path of finding natural ways to treat himself without having to depend on expensive medications.
His informative site on all issues related to panic and anxiety attacks can be found here: Natural Anxiety Remedies – How Can I Stop My Anxiety Without Using Medication?