Fear is a powerful emotion, but did you know it can affect your physical and mental health if you live in a state of sustained fear and stress over the long term?
To help better understand how this works, Michele Bauer, a licensed clinical social worker with Vivacity Care Center joined New Day NW.
Fear can physically show up in a multitude of ways:
- Panic attacks: Fear can show up through panic attacks, the symptoms of which mimic those of heart attacks. They can be physically painful and emotionally terrifying, lasting from a few minutes to hours.
- Weakened immune system: The longer you stay in a state of hyperarousal (that fight or flight mechanism), the more severe the toll on your body will be. This leads to greater susceptibility to illness.
- Aging: Fear and stress speed up the aging process for dramatic aging.
- Chronic health issues: Would-be headaches can turn into migraines. This can also manifest in developing chronic pain.
- Hair loss
- Eating disorder behaviors
- Negative impact on mood
- Loss of resiliency: You find yourself less able to withstand stress. You become more reactive to situations that otherwise would not have bothered us.
- Mood dysregulation: Fear can affect your mental ability to regulate your feelings and emotions. As you become more emotionally dysregulated, more depressed, worried, and anxious, you start to see your thinking and decision-making impacted. It becomes harder to think clearly, harder to make well-thought-out decisions, and you even start to act impulsively. You end up making choices without considering what the impacts will be.
What you can do to relieve fear:
- Get exercise
- Get better sleep
- Be around people you care about
- Do things that make you happy
- Take a break from social media
- Talk to someone you can trust