It is very common for anxiety to manifest through sensations in the body. If you are having physical symptoms that your Medical Doctor can’t explain, then it is possible that they are caused by stress and anxiety. Sometimes medical symptoms are made worse by anxiety. What anxiety does to the body can manifest from fear and being scared of a wide range of things.

Many people complain of discomfort in their body, or even a feeling of wanting to jump out of their skin.  If you are curious about what anxiety does to the body, here are a few of the more common physical symptoms.

What Anxiety Does To The Body

  • intense feeling of doom and gloom
  • racing heart
  • light headedness
  • heart palpitations
  • sweating
  • nervous stomach
  • trembling
  • feeling like you are about to lose control or go crazy
  • feeling overwhelmed
  • sudden and strong urge to escape
  • heightened fear and apprehension
  • increased stimulation
  • pins and needles
  • throat tightness
  • muscle weakness
  • weak in the knees
  • super sensitive senses and nerves
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches
  • Neck tension
  • Stomach upset, nervous stomach
  • Pulsing in the ear
  • Burning skin
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Electric shock feeling
  • Shooting pains in the face
  • Weakness in legs
  • Unable to rest
  • Startle easily
  • Nervous coughing
  • Back Pain
  • Choking feeling in throat

It is important to get to the core reasons for your anxiety. Treating the symptoms without looking at the real underlying reasons for them, is just like putting a band-aid on it. The minute the band-aid comes off in the shower, the symptoms come back again.

Your Childhood Affects What Anxiety Does To The Body

Anxiety can be tied to something in childhood. Being strongly bonded to your caregiver helps you feel safe, secure and valued by them. Your needs for physical comfort, emotional support and protection were met. Home becomes a refuge when you can grow up feeling like your needs, desires and emotions are important.

You can then feel that it is necessary and natural to get your needs met as an adult. It is easier to find a balance between being there for others and taking care of yourself.

Being mirrored by your caregiver is key to feeling respected and that you are a worthy person. This involves feeling truly seen for the unique person that you are. Your caregiver needed to really listen to you, without letting their own feelings, thoughts and judgements get in the way. They have to put aside who they are and just listen to you. Then, they can help you understand yourself.

If you didn’t have adequate mirroring or bonding to a caregiver when you were young, this can lead to fear and anxiety about yourself and the world around you. This can happen when something traumatic happens, caregivers are gone from home a lot, or you were neglected at home in some way. Maybe they were unresponsive, abandoning, rejecting and criticized you. This leads to anger, hopelessness, sadness and despair.

This can also lead to problems in social engagement. We don’t feel safe engaging with other people, so we feel distant and alone. This has obvious ramifications for our relationships.

Using EMDR To Help What Anxiety Does To The Body

Maybe there was a lot of stress in the home, so you didn’t feel safe and your needs weren’t met. Sometimes children are physically, sexually or emotionally abused, or they watched the abuse of someone else in their family. This can lead to a child feeling profoundly powerless, unsafe and scared, and has many ramifications in adulthood. What anxiety does to the body over a long period of time can be debilitating.

Everyone has different reasons for having many physical anxiety symptoms. Understanding yourself helps you feel like your not crazy. There is actually a very good reason for your symptoms. What anxiety does to the body can make you feel like you are overwhelmed and out of control.

Figuring out what has led to so much anxiety can also help with identifying how to treat it using EMDR. If there are certain memories, or even body memories, that you need to process and desensitize to, we can work on that.

First we talk about what is really bothering you now. Then, I ask you to think back to the youngest, strongest memory that you feel has the that same strong impact. These childhood memories are the root cause of your feelings in the present. We can then work with that young memory, reducing its negative charge. Your emotions and physical body sensations start to diminish.

Eventually, that event won’t have a ‘charge’ to it anymore. The intensity of it goes away, and you can feel more in control of your feelings, rather than your feelings controlling you. Anger outbursts that we can’t stop are examples of your feelings controlling you, rather than the other way around.

Neurofeedback Calms The Nervous System And Relaxes The Body

We can also try neurofeedback, which calms down the nervous system, and begins to heal what anxiety does to the body.  Then,  it is much easier to use EMDR. Our brain consists of a left and a right hemisphere. Each hemisphere does a distinct job, and they also communicate with each other.

The right brain’s main job is to keep us alive and safe. It allows us to feel comfortable with ourselves and with our bodies so we can be open to the world around us and to other people. This comfort is developed when we are very young and learning about the world.

Successful, safe, early right brain development leads to good self-regulation. Loving, caring caretakers teach us how to self-soothe and connect with other people, by their example. Self-soothing is connected to feeling calm and grounded in our body.

Trauma Profoundly Affects What Anxiety Does To The Body

If this stage of right brain development is disrupted by something threatening happening, perhaps trauma, neglect, or something else, there can be a life-long problems with core self-regulation, including being physically relaxed and calm. This can lead to chronic anxiety, depression, and other issues. What anxiety does to the body can be healed by working with the right brain.

Trauma in childhood interferes with feeling safe and secure and interrupts attachment. This lack of core resilience has serious consequences as you grow into adulthood. When you experience stress as an adult, it can overwhelm you and reactivate earlier, unresolved trauma experiences.

Neurofeedback is very effective in working on the right side of the brain to bring on emotional and physical calming. It can have a fundamental impact on improving self-regulation and right brain function. Some people may not even remember experiencing that type of profound calm and relaxation, so this can be a completely new state of existence for some.  What anxiety does to the body can be healed by neurofeedback.

If you relate to any of the things I’m discussing here, please reach out to me if you think I can help. My email is or leave me a confidential phone message at 310-314-6933.