From Sweaty Palms to Racing Thoughts: Let’s Explore the Symptoms of Anxiety and How to Manage Them

From Sweaty Palms to Racing Thoughts: Let’s Explore the Symptoms of Anxiety and How to Manage Them
If you’ve never experienced anxiety, it goes something like this – your brain is constantly telling you something is wrong or something bad is on the horizon, but you don’t know what that bad thing is or when it’s going to happen. It’s as if your body has an internal security system, and it has gone haywire, labeling everything as a threat. You’re in constant defense mode – tense, stressed, and ready to panic. If this sounds familiar, you’re in the right place. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the most common symptoms of anxiety and how to manage them.

Racing Thoughts

If you’ve ever caught yourself worrying about the worst-case scenario or “what if,” then you’re probably well-acquainted with racing thoughts. Anxiety manifests when we begin to worry about what’s going to happen, no matter how unlikely it might be, and sometimes those thoughts are hard to stop. Try some of these tricks to ease this common symptom of anxiety.

Take a Realistic Approach

Ask yourself what’s the worst scenario, then ask yourself what the best-case scenario could be. Consider these two options, then ask yourself what the most realistic outcome would likely be. This can help you gain a more grounded perspective, and help put worrisome thoughts to rest.

Challenge Your Thoughts

Recognizing unhelpful thoughts can also help break the cycle of worry. Next time you catch yourself asking “What if?” ask yourself why you’re thinking these thoughts, if they are helpful, and if they are true.

Distract Yourself

When in doubt, distraction can help take your mind off concerning thoughts. Try listening to calming music, watching a show, or playing a game. Engaging in something that requires your focus can help push away negative thoughts and calm you.

Difficulty Breathing

Anxiety is funny in the way it can trick your brain. Anxiety can make it feel like the walls are closing in and suffocating you, even in a wide-open space. If you have trouble breathing or feel like there’s not enough air, try removing yourself from the situation. Go someplace calm with plenty of room and take some deep breaths. Inhale for two to four seconds, hold for three, then exhale for six. Do this as many times as you need to regain control of your breathing, calm your body, and slow your heart rate.

Nausea or Stomach Aches

Are you familiar with the feeling of having a pit in your stomach? Your brain and stomach are connected by the vagus nerve. One informs the other. That feeling, like butterflies or dread in your stomach, could be that suspicious sandwich you ate earlier, or more likely it’s anxiety. Feeling anxious can cause you to lose your appetite, have a stomach ache, or feel nauseous.

You can soothe your stomach with gentle remedies such as mint tea or ginger hard candies. If you haven’t eaten in a while, it can often worsen the feeling, so try to eat a snack to help settle your stomach. Taking a walk can also help take your mind off your pain and calm your nerves. If you have recurring stomach aches, be sure to talk with a medical provider to rule out any other health concerns.

Jaw Tension

Feeling tense lately? Jaw and muscle tension are a common side effect of anxiety. Clenching your jaw can often lead to headaches, sore muscles, and issues with your teeth, but there are some tips you can try to alleviate the pain. First, take a moment to unclench your jaw by opening and closing your mouth. Then, massage the sides of your jaw with your fingers to ease the muscles. To help relax your jaw, rest the tip of your tongue against the back of your teeth. Doing these things will help release tension and prevent further pain.


Some people struggling with symptoms of anxiety may experience numbness along with an anxiety or panic attack. The numb feeling often accompanies dissociation, which is a protective mechanism employed by the brain. Basically, it’s your brain’s way of trying to protect you from overwhelming emotions. However, losing feeling can often have the opposite effect of making you panic more.

In these situations, grounding techniques can help bring you back to your body. Try the five senses exercise. List five things you can see around you, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. You can repeat this exercise as many times as you need to calm yourself down and reconnect with the present moment.

Feeling Faint or Dizzy

In moments of severe stress or fear, our body may react by fainting. In moments of anxiety, it can be disorienting and frightening, but there are steps you can take to prevent it. First, take a moment to ground yourself by sitting or lying down. This will help lower your heart rate. Continue to calm yourself by taking deep breaths, opening and clenching your fists, drinking water, and stabilizing your blood sugar levels with a drink or snack.

Overcoming Anxiety Together

Managing symptoms of anxiety can feel isolating and overwhelming, but you’re not alone. At With Behavioral Health, we’re here to help you through your anxiety by providing group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and dialectical behavioral therapy. Through our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and tailored therapy sessions, we aim to help you manage and overcome your anxiety symptoms. We welcome you to join our space where we can grow, shake, sweat, and do breathing exercises together without judgment. Contact us to schedule your intake consultation today.

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It’s cozy, comfortable, and the opposite of clinical. This is all very intentional and all for you.

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