What do pale skin and limb numbness have to do with anxiety? Quite a bit, as there is a definite connection between poor blood circulation and anxiety. Read on to learn about how to treat both conditions.
Most people don’t realize that anxiety can create a whole host of unusual physical symptoms. A few of these relate specifically to the circulatory system. Symptoms of poor blood circulation can include cold hands and feet (yes, having “cold feet” is not just a euphemism), numb limbs, heart palpitations and pale skin. These symptoms are just a few among the many unpleasant consequences of having an undiagnosed anxiety disorder. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to visit to your doctor to rule out any other possible causes. One way to guess if your blood circulation is linked to anxiety is to monitor the intensity of your symptoms when you are feeling particularly anxious. If you feel worse during those times, there’s a good chance that your problems are linked to anxiety.
After having visited the doctor and ruling out other physical causes, you will be given a number of strategies to deal with your poor circulation. Gingo biloba is herb that can work as a blood thinner, and if this not sufficient, your doctor can prescribe a blood thinner for you that can be effective. However, these medicines don’t come without their risks, it’s important to note that there are side effects and possible dietary restrictions that are par for the course when taking them. Diuretics may also be useful, and some examples of herbal diuretics include juniper, ginger and dandelion leaf. Also, try to eliminate stimulants from your diet, especially caffeine, as they can worsen not only your blood circulation but your anxiety symptoms as well.
A great way to kill the proverbial two birds with one stone is to incorporate exercise into your lifestyle. Exercise is the best way that gets your blood flowing and, although discussed infrequently, its mental health benefits are fantastic. You can slowly begin a new exercise regimen by walking for just 15 minutes every day. Slowly increase your time, and try some new activities as you begin to feel comfortable. You could begin to jog, ride a bike, take dance lessons-the sky is the limit as long as you feel comfortable doing it. Just don’t try to do too much too soon or you’ll risk injury. Truly pay attention to your body, and it will let you know if you are doing too much. Yoga, in particular, offers a great way to improve flexibility, balance and proper breathing techniques. It increases the level of a chemical called GABA in the brain, which is the same chemical that anti-anxiety medications usually target.
The aforementioned breathing techniques are especially important to learn and prove to be a wonderful tool to use when you’re in the midst of a particularly anxiety-provoking situation. Make sure that you are breathing from your diaphragm, and you can even put your hand there to make sure that it is indeed where your breath is coming from. Take a deep breath in to the count of five, hold it for five, and then slowly release. Close your eyes and focus on your physical feelings. How does the room smell? How does the fabric of your clothing feel against your skin? Try to be as mindful of your environment as you can, as this takes your focus off of your panic and onto what’s really going on around you. Keep breathing until you begin to feel truly relaxed. Make sure to keep employing the above techniques to truly find relief from your poor circulation and anxiety.
Sharp, R. “Understanding the Symptoms of Poor Blood Circulation.” <http:///www.healthguidance.org> 5 Jan 2013.