Modern society is moving at a much faster rate than our forefathers had to handle. It seems like everything these days is built or designed to be as quick as possible. Instant results have become commonplace and many people have a hard time handling it.
As a result of our high-paced lifestyles, more and more people are becoming victims of anxiety and suffer from anxiety numbness as a result. If you’re one of those people, then you know personally just how much anxiety can suck.
This is especially true if you deal with anxiety numbness on a regular basis. I mean, it’s bad enough that you feel anxious for no good reason, but for your body to go numb too? It can be downright terrifying.
In this article, we’ll be exploring anxiety numbness and taking a look at what you can do to combat it. Before we go too far, let’s take a look at the common forms of anxiety and what you can do about them.
The Anxiety Problem in 2017
Essentially, anxiety is an emotion that we feel in situations that make us feel pressured. These situations vary greatly in nature and are largely due to individual perception. For instance, one person may feel incredibly anxious in settings where there are many people present, whereas another might feel just as anxious when there are no other people around.
Anxiety is characterized by a few physiological symptoms, these are:
- Increased heart rate
- Increased breath rate
- Flushed skin
- Tense Muscles
- Queasy feeling or butterflies in the stomach
These symptoms all occur due to the release of adrenaline into our blood.
Adrenaline is the key hormone in our “fight or flight” response. Our bodies release it to prepare us to handle dangerous threats to our wellbeing. Originally, it was intended to give us the strength and speed to fight off predators, or to survive falls from trees.
Adrenaline works by shunting blood away from our internal organs and into our muscles, lungs and sensory organs. Hence the flushed skin increased breath rate and increased heart rate. Our bodies are quite literally preparing for a battle to the death.
The only problem?
Well… as far as I know, we don’t have to fight large predators on a daily basis anymore. Which means feeling anxious multiple times a day, floods our system with adrenaline hat never gets used up. Instead of being a life-sustaining reaction, our fight or flight response becomes a source of high blood pressure, heart palpitations, poor metabolism and poor mental health.
Now that we’ve gone over the basics, let’s cover anxiety numbness before we go into what you can do about it.
Ever left your bare hand in the snow for a few seconds? When you eventually take your hand out, it’s almost impossible to feel anything that touches your skin. Sure, there’s some vague sensation and you can tell there’s something there, but you just can’t FEEL it.
That absence of feeling is called numbness and it is sometimes brought on by anxiety attacks.
People who suffer from anxiety numbness most often experience numb hands and feet during attacks. It is also common for sufferers to experience numbness in other places, such as the face, scalp, stomach and neck.
This may not seem like such a horrible thing to deal with, but when you’re panicking because you don’t know whether your coworkers like you or not, the LAST thing you need is a part of your body to simply stop working.
The last thing you need when you’re anxious to hear about your nerves eating themselves away, or a fractured vertebra… Trust me, I know.
Dealing with Anxiety Numbness
There are a number of ways that you can deal with anxiety numbness but the most important thing is to at all times bear in mind the fact that your numbness is psychosomatic. The word “psychosomatic” means that it is a physical or “somatic” sensation generated by your conflicted “psyche”.
This means that despite what your numbness feels like physically, you can rest assured that nothing bad is happening inside of your body.
Once you accept the fact that what you’re feeling doesn’t mean certain death, dealing with it becomes much, much simpler.
1. Take Deep, Slow Breaths
The first step to combatting any anxiety attack is to take control of your breathing. One of the first things to go speed up during our fight or flight response is our breath. Your body anticipates that we will need a ton of oxygen going to your muscles to fight and speeds up your breathing and heart rate.
Slowing down your breathing (especially your exhalation) actually takes control of the cycle and forces the heart to slow down. Try breathing in for 2 counts and out for 6. Maintaining that ratio for a few minutes will get your heart rate back to normal
2. Change your Location If Possible
Often times, removing yourself from the source of your anxiety is the best thing you can do to regain control. It’s not defeating to take the time to yourself, especially if it means you get over that pesky numbness.
Sometimes being in a certain space is just too hard. Maybe your recent ex-partner suddenly shows up and you can’t deal with it. Or maybe you’ve just gotten done with an exam and everyone else seems to have gotten different answers to you.
If you find yourself in a situation like this… just leave.
While you’re on your way out, start breathing, you’ll feel better faster.
3. Tackle Your anxiety in Advance
More often than you think our anxiety isn’t the direct result of something external. Many times, people who keep their feelings pent up or who don’t deal with their stress in a positive way suffer anxiety attacks simply because they are overloaded.
If you suffer from anxiety, but haven’t been to the gym in a month, try getting an early workout in before work. 15 minutes of vigorous exercise causes endorphins to be released in our brains. Endorphins are the “feel-good” hormones of our body and their effects can last up to 15 hours.
Your anxiety will be greatly decreased in both frequency and strength, simply by hitting the gym more often.
Try it out! You won’t be disappointed.
One of the other benefits of exercise is it gives you the opportunity to move your body around. When you’re suffering from anxiety numbness, one of the best things you can do to “shake” the feeling is to literally move the part of your body that’s numb.
That could mean stretching out your leg, rubbing your hands shaking your arm. Typically the numbness will start to ware off within a couple minutes which can help calm your anxiety a bit.
If you experience chronic anxiety numbness or your numbness doesn’t go away within a reasonable amount of time (i.e more than 10 minutes) you should consider seeing a doctor. Although anxiety can contribute to numbness, it can sometimes be a symptom of a larger issue.