Have you ever had “jelly legs?” No, it’s not something out of a bad sci-fi movie, rather it’s a very real physical sensation that occurs when you feel anxious. Weak legs can be very scary and only serve to exacerbate anxiety, but there is a way to break this cycle and feel normal again. The only way to eradicate those “jelly legs” is by addressing the underlying anxiety that’s causing them, and this article will show you just how to do that.
The cause of jelly legs is really quite simple-it’s a byproduct of the “fight or flight” response that once served humans well in hunter-gatherer societies, when we had to hunt for our food and constantly be on the lookout for predators. That response has never left us, but it can be a true nuisance in our modern world. When attempting to treat this problem, it’s important to pay a visit to your friendly family doctor to rule out any possible physical conditions that could be giving you weak legs. Once you’ve done this, you can begin your plan to eradicate the anxiety that has been plaguing your life.
When you begin to experience “jelly legs” make sure to sit down, as it is often accompanied by dizziness and you don’t want to fall and hurt yourself. Try to remove yourself from any stressful situations and find a quiet, peaceful place to begin to calm your anxiety. Close your eyes and take a deep breath, placing your hand on your diaphragm to make sure your breath is coming from there. Shallow breaths will only worsen your panicky feelings. Then, hold your breath to the count of five, and very slowly release it. Continue doing this as long as it takes for you to begin to feel relaxed.
The feeling of jelly legs is caused by too much adrenaline from the aforementioned “fight or flight” response, and it can create a host of unusual and unpleasant physical symptoms. This adrenaline cause more blood to rush to your brain and heart, and often away from your extremities, which gives them a weak feeling. Carbon dioxide will gather in those areas in an attempt to boost circulation, but coming with the miserable side effect of shaking and weak legs.
The only way to treat this in the long-term is to slowly take back control from your anxiety. There are a variety of herbal solutions that will ease anxiety, and if it’s truly extreme, you can visit your doctor, who may prescribe you with an anti-anxiety medication. However, using anti-anxiety medicine should only be a last resort, as they can be very addictive and come with a host of side effects.
Therapy can also be very helpful for treating anxiety disorders. One therapy in particular is called cognitive-behavioral therapy, and it can revamp your thinking by eliminating cognitive distortions. Most people who suffer from anxiety have a very distorted cognitive style, and this type of therapy will teach you to think logically and practically about the situations you frequently panic over.
A few lifestyle changes will also be in order if you truly wish to overcome anxiety. “Exercise, exercise and more exercise” should be your new mantra, as several studies show that it can be as effective at reducing anxiety as any prescription or herbal drug. To achieve the most benefits, try to get at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise every day, whether it’s walking, running, biking or engaging in any activity that increases your heart rate.
Jelly legs don’t have to be the bane of your existence. Overcoming anxiety is hard work, but the results will be well worth it, and those jelly legs will no longer have a hold over you.
“Anxiety and Panic Attack Symptoms” National Panic and Anxiety Disorder News. <http://www.npadnews.com>3 Jan 2013.