Age Wise

How Anxiety Fuels Your Anxiety

Learn ways to get a grip on the worry spiral revealed by new research

Robert Roy Britt
Elemental
Published in
5 min readOct 27, 2021

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Photo: Christopher Ott / Unsplash

Worry is an inevitable part of the human condition, from childhood to that very last breath. We worry when bad stuff happens, when good stuff doesn’t happen, or when we can’t shake the fear that something bad might happen.

When worries fuel outright anxiety — marked by fast breathing, shortness of breath, or a racing heart — it can lead to chest pain, dizziness, or even full-blown panic attacks. Anxiety can ruin your sleep, cause depression, and add to the risk of dementia, along with putting you at risk for a host of physical illnesses.

Thing is, we’re often blind to the warning signs.

Anxiety messes with the mind-body connection, causing us to lose touch with the physical effects of all that worry, spiraling us into ever-deeper anxiety, a new study published in the journal Neuron reveals.

“We might believe we are very in tune with our bodies, but what we’ve seen is that anxiety can actually reduce our ability to notice changes in our breathing,” says study leader Olivia Harrison, PhD, a researcher at the University of Otago in New Zealand. “If we don’t realize when we are breathing faster or harder due to being worried, then we could…

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Robert Roy Britt
Elemental

Editor of Aha! and Wise & Well on Medium + the Writer's Guide at writersguide.substack.com. Author of Make Sleep Your Superpower: amazon.com/dp/B0BJBYFQCB