The pressure and stress we put ourselves under on a daily basis can generate both emotional and physical ailments, which contribute to the wear and tear on our bodies and mental fatigue.
When this turns into anxiety, we are dragged into a spiral of despair and lack of motivation to face the routine, avoid performance in our work and diminish concern for our own well-being.
When such anxiety worsens, it can lead to other major health problems such as coronary heart disease, alterations in blood pressure or accumulation of muscle tension. But above all, it is possible that this is the origin of the development of some mental disorders such as specific or generalized anxiety, panic attacks and even depression.
That is why, in this article we will tell you everything you need to know about anxiety, the problems it causes, why it is so common and why not.The problems it causes, why your chest hurts when you are anxious and how to solve it.
What is anxiety?
In theory, anxiety responds to a natural adaptation mechanism that we all possess, which keeps us alert to difficulties and provides the body with enough energy to be attentive to all possible scenarios that may compromise us and how we can solve them.
Generally, this sensation diminishes when we have solved the problem that afflicts us, leaving the body exhausted and with a feeling of satisfaction. But anxiety is not only an adaptation mechanism, but it can also be catalogued as a personality trait, a symptom of some it can also be catalogued as a personality trait, a symptom of some disease or a mental disorder..
Anxiety becomes a personality disorder when it manifests itself in a constant, intense or excessive manner, the discomfort is aggravated throughout the body and affects different areas of a person’s development (intimate, interpersonal, work, social or academic). Another way to recognize this disorder is when there are short but repetitive episodes of extreme anxiety, panic attacks or paralyzing and uncontrollable fears, which prevent having a proper routine.
Anxiety disorders can be found in the DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) as the following.
1. Generalized anxiety
It is known to the anxiety that occurs at any time and for any situation, it can also occur in the opposite case, that anxiety occurs for no apparent reason in the day.
2. Specific anxiety
In the opposite case, there is the anxiety that you may feel for something in particular, usually in facing that situation or fearing to solve it.
3. Separation anxiety
It occurs in small children, when they present excessive and sometimes senseless anxiety, when being under the situation of separation from parents or the distance of a figure close to them.
4. Selective mutism
It also occurs in children and is characterized by an inability to speak in situations that are very complicated for them and that they prefer to avoid.
5. Anxiety or panic disorder
It consists of short but repetitive and constant episodes of fear, phobia or maximum anxiety. Manifesting itself through difficulty breathing or strong palpitations and a fear of recurrence.
It is an anxiety caused by the fear to be exposed in open places and where the person feels ashamed, with fear, trapped or suffocated. So they try to avoid them.
7. Social anxiety
Also known as social phobia, it refers to anxiety levels caused by the rejection or fear of facing social situations and people because they think they can cause harm.
8. Specific phobias
Refers to extreme and sometimes irrational fear of something specific, such as an animal or a situation that one prefers to avoid. And whose exposure to it causes anxiety.
9. Anxiety due to an illness
In this the symptoms of anxiety (exhaustion, physical discomfort, mental fatigue, palpitations, exhaustion or shortness of breath) is actually caused by an illness.
Why does the chest hurt when anxious?
One of the most characteristic and noticeable symptoms of anxiety is the manifestation in physical discomfort, where chest pain is the most common and is accompanied by a feeling of choking, chest tightness, hyperventilation, palpitations, dizziness, excessive tiredness and pressure in the head. Being a noticeable and annoying problem for the person experiencing it, has it ever happened to you?
Ways to recognize chest pain due to anxiety
This pain in the chest is due to a somatization of anxiety (i.e., its externalization) and usually manifests itself during a panic or stressful situation.. People who experience it usually describe it as a stabbing pain that spreads throughout the torso.
It is a pain that can last for several minutes but does not last beyond that and appears from the beginning of the state of anxiety until its end, where it decreases. It does not increase or cease if we do different exercises, efforts or physical techniques.
Many tend to confuse this difficulty with a cardiovascular problem. But you can differentiate it because the latter is characterized by pains in a certain point of the chest and arm, while, for anxiety, it spreads throughout the torso and a specific painful area is not identified.
What causes chest pain due to anxiety?
As already mentioned, it is due to somatization caused by an episode of anxiety. That is to say, it is the way in which the organism manifests that there is an overwhelming problem for the person that is affecting him/her at a general level.
But in itself, these discomforts are caused by the activation of the sympathetic nervous system, due to the high discharges of adrenaline and cortisol.due to the high discharges of adrenaline and cortisol. Leading the body to a state of high and constant energy to react to any stimulus that causes concern.
This activation, plus the uncontrollable feeling of continuous anxiety, generates considerable muscular tension, which is the cause of physical pain. Therefore, chest pain is about the pressure and muscular tension of the torso, as well as the rest of the body.
Ways to relieve and decrease anxiety
It is very common for people to have anxiety at certain times in life or mild panic attacks in the face of a very overwhelming and stressful situation. But, there are some people who may suffer anxiety constantly due to any adversity in their routine.
Therefore, it is important to mention some ways to alleviate and reduce anxiety in everyday life.
1. Psychological treatment
It is always advisable to attend psychological therapy when you have constant feelings of insecurity or distrust in your abilities to solve problems, when stress overwhelms you and you cannot handle it or is causing difficulties in your performance and relationships.
In psychotherapeutic work, the specialist will give you the best tools to build your confidence again, reinforce your self-esteem, have alternatives to solve any conflict in an adequate way and activities to get back to normality.
2. Pharmacological treatment
This is carried out when the person is immersed in a severe anxiety disorder that affects all areas of your life and can not control it. The treatment is performed by a psychiatrist and works together with a psychotherapist to find adaptation tools.
Anxiolytic drugs that decrease brain excitation and contribute to the relaxation of the organism are indicated.
3. Breath work
This is ideal to calm the symptoms of pain and pressure in the chest, since you manage to relax the muscles and clear the mind of worries. These techniques can be found on the web, be directed by your therapist or through the practice of activities such as meditation, Taichi or yoga.
4. Relaxing activities
Always look for activities that reduce the stress of your day to day life, that you can enjoy, that help nourish your brain and distract you. You can opt for physical exercise, learn a new skill, meet with friends, walk your dog or take a break with a cup of hot tea.
5. Workout Habits
With these habits you can train your mind to solve different difficulties and you will see that you have the ability to face any obstacle and find a resolution if you are focused. To do this you can get in the habit of reading mystery novels, look for math problems to solve or download mental agility games.
6. Inform yourself
It is very important that you are aware of the problem that is causing you discomfort and difficulties in your daily life, so you can solve it effectively. Therefore, look for all the necessary information about anxiety and pay attention to the situations in your life that trigger it. This way you will be able to have control over your anxiety.
Of course, avoid overinformation. Focus only on having a global vision of your problem, but do not go beyond what is necessary because that can activate a new state of anxiety.
7. Use creative tools
To solve all those conflicts or problems that seem to overwhelm you must think ‘out of the box’ as sometimes the solution requires creativity so why not use creative tools such as concept maps, mind maps, dada poems, breakdowns, a solution notebook, drawings, writing down your problems, etc.
Having control of your anxiety only depends on you and the effort to free yourself from the pressures.