Published on August 01, 2019

Serenity Now

It’s normal, even healthy, to worry from time to time. After all, life has its share of challenges. But if worry consumes your daily life, your health could be at risk in ways that may surprise you.

woman's feet resting in hammockExcessive worrying release stress hormones that cause you to have a fight or flight response to emotional situations. When your mind and body are constantly on high alert, they can’t do their regular job, which is to keep you healthy.

Chronic worrying can:

  • Cause digestive problems such as ulcers, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and acid reflux
  • Cause you to take deeper breaths more often, which makes existing lung conditions such as asthma and COPD worse
  • Lead to migraines or tension headaches because of tense neck and shoulder muscles
  • Speed up your heart rate, which makes your risk for high blood pressure, a heart attack or stroke skyrocket
  • Weaken your immune system, making it tougher for you to fight off a cold, the flu or other viruses

Lifestyle Changes

The secret to preventing these health issues is learning how to handle worrisome and stressful situations. That’s easier said than done. While you will never be 100% free from life’s worries, working toward making some permanent lifestyle changes may help rebalance your mind, body and spirit.

  • Acknowledge your worries, allow yourself a short amount of time (10 minutes) to focus on them, then let them go; refocus your mind when worry creeps back in
  • Eat healthy foods and limit how much caffeine you drink
  • Practice ways to relax; try controlled deep breathing, meditation, yoga or listening to soothing music
  • Spend time with supportive friends and family members who make you happy and keep you laughing
  • Talk with your doctor about your concerns, and get a full physical exam to rule out the possibility that other health problems are causing your worry
  • Talk with a professional therapist who can help you identify your worry triggers, develop coping strategies and keep life in perspective
    Exercise regularly to reduce stress

Excessive worrying can also affect your daily life, including your sleep, appetite, relationships and job performance. The first step to feeling better is to talk with your primary care doctor . If you don’t have a doctor, we can help.

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