Are These Symptoms of Stress and Anxiety?
Dear CMR: These last few months I have been experiencing physical symptoms such as lightheadedness, fast heartbeat, loss of appetite/desire to eat, headaches, and fatigue. I have seen several doctors and gotten multiple blood tests done, but so far, everything has turned out to be normal. I find myself feeling anxious and wonder if my physical symptoms are arising from stress/not knowing how to cope with stress at work?
It sounds like there may be a strong psychological component that is impacting your physical reactions. The stress that you are experiencing at work can result in the feelings and symptoms you describe. Anxiety symptoms like these can be very difficult to manage without some help.
There are a number of steps I would recommend taking.
First, I am glad to read that you are getting a good medical check-up. This can help eliminate some potential physical causes that you may not realize, like diet or excessive caffeine consumption.
Secondly, you should consider finding a counselor/therapist who specializes in anxiety. Your general practice doctor can and should be able to refer you to someone, and should be consulted for their professional advice about medical approaches (e.g., anti-anxiety medication) that can help alleviate symptoms and make any behavioral changes or efforts (counseling, stress management steps, prayer, etc.) more effective.
A couple of great verses that come to mind whenever I face stressful days are:
- Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship (Greek: poema), created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Amazing to think that we are His workmanship, His poem! Think about how much care a poet gives to each line and stanza of his “creation.”
- John 10:4 “When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.” How awesome and deep is Jesus’ love for us, like a shepherd’s love for his flock.
- Matthew 23:37 says “…How often I have wanted to gather you, as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings...” This verse always comforts me and often reminds me of the poem Gather Me to Be with You:
O GOD, gather me now to be with you as you are with me.
Soothe my tiredness; quiet my fretfulness
curb my aimlessness; receive my compulsiveness;
let me be easy for a moment.
O LORD, release me from the fears and guilts which grip me so tightly;
from the expectations and opinions which I so tightly grip,
that I may be open to receiving, to learn something refreshingly different.
O GOD, gather me to be with you as you are with me.
-Tedd Loder, Guerillas of Grace
Finally, there are a number of behavioral and spiritual practices that can help. I have written a blog on this topic, and have detailed a number of these suggestions. You can find all of that information here: Experiencing Anxiety In Relationships.
Christopher Grace serves as the director of the Biola University Center for Marriage and Relationships and teaches psychology at Rosemead School of Psychology. He and his wife, Alisa, speak regularly to married couples, churches, singles and college students on the topic of relationships, dating and marriage. Grace earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from Colorado State University.