Mental Health
Surprising Ways Anxiety Can Manifest

Surprising Ways Anxiety Can Manifest

3 min read


Gina Patalano

So many of us experience anxiety in many parts of our lives. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health conditions in the United States, affecting 18.1% of the population every year

Whether in our social or dating lives, anxiety can really have a negative effect on our day-to-day living. The biggest step we can take to address this anxiety is to find how it manifests in our lives. Whether through physical or psychological symptoms or even through our own behaviors and emotions, anxiety can show itself in a variety of ways that we sometimes have difficulty seeing.

We are here to help. Let’s walk through a few of the more surprising ways anxiety can manifest, how you can recognize it, and how you can find relief. 

Physical Symptoms

The physical symptoms of anxiety are ones that can affect our body, like dry mouth, racing heart, lightheadedness, sweating, and nausea. Personally, I’ve noticed that when I’m anxious, I have some lower back pain, and headaches, but everyone is different.

There are also some unusual physical symptoms of anxiety that may be downright shocking. Anxiety can show itself through indigestion, physical numbness, excessive yawning, and even skin rashes. 

We can sometimes struggle to recognize these symptoms as anxiety, or miss that anxiety is a cause entirely. 

While it is important to look into medical concerns, sometimes these medical symptoms could be how anxiety is taking place in your body.

Psychological Symptoms

The psychological symptoms of anxiety are the ones that we often find ourselves experiencing during stressful situations. Some common examples of these symptoms include excessive worry, impatience, irritability, and a racing mind. Sometimes, in these moments of anxiety, we can have a hard time recognizing the symptoms, which can cause a spiral of anxious thoughts or feelings in turn.

Like physical symptoms, anxiety can also cause unexpected psychological symptoms. These can include feeling fatigued or indecisive, grappling with intrusive thoughts, and exhibiting perfectionism. While there can also be many factors at play such as lack of sleep, and medications that contribute to these symptoms, they can still be a way that anxiety can show itself.


Finally, anxiety can be shown in different behaviors. This section may seem especially surprising since, when we think of anxiety, we usually think of physical or psychological symptoms instead of behaviors. Some common behaviors could be experiencing distress in particular situations and avoiding them as a result, or having a hard time dealing with stress. Some stressful situations like public speaking, parties, or taking an important test may cause these behaviors to pop up.

There are also a lot of surprising behaviors that may be caused by anxiety. These symptoms include obsessive-compulsive and phobic behaviors (such as experiencing intense fear and needing to control anxiety with rituals), but they can also look like zoning out, clumsiness, self-medication, and even self-harm. It may be important to stay mindful of these examples and to examine what behaviors may be signs of your anxiety.

Anxiety has many different forms

It can be pretty shocking to see the many different forms anxiety can take. From indigestion to perfectionism to clumsiness, anxiety can manifest itself in a variety of ways that make it relevant to our lives. However, being able to be mindful of our symptoms, and labeling them as anxiety is a great first step to take to address the anxiety we are experiencing.

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About the author

Hi, I'm Gina Patalano. I have years of experience working with people who experience anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Over time, they’ve each found that therapy has helped them in processing and growing through these feelings.

During our sessions, I will support you in learning how to leverage tools like mindfulness, breathing techniques and exercises, and other forms of accessible self-care to reduce stress inside and outside of the therapy room. No matter what, by working with me, you will receive a safe, non-judgemental, warm space where you can be your authentic self.

I would love to meet you, learn more about what brings you to therapy, and share more about how I can best support you. I look forward to connecting in more depth and supporting you in becoming the best version of yourself.

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