Anxiety is both emotionally and physically draining. Every day you suffer it can feel as though all of your natural vitality is gone, and you are left as a shell of yourself, almost as if you completed an intense exercise right before bedtime.
It should come as no surprise for those that suffer from anxiety that anxiety can cause low energy levels. In fact, one of the most frequent complaints about living with anxiety is the way that it affects energy. So what causes these low energy levels and, perhaps most importantly, what can you do to stop it?
Low Energy = Anxiety?
Do you feel drained every day from your anxiety? Do you wish there was a way to find relief? Find out how you can cure your anxiety forever with my free 7-minute anxiety test.
Anxiety Disorders and Energy
In some ways, anxiety is too much energy, not too little. When you're anxious, your body is being rushed with adrenaline - nature's natural energy creator that is supposed to make it easier for you to fight or flee if you were faced with some danger. The effects of this energy can be seen in your anxiety symptoms. Take my free 7-minute anxiety test to learn more.
Yet anxiety causes low energy as well, and the primary reason for this low energy is because - like a battery - when you use up all of your energy with anxiety, your body gets fatigued much faster.
Anxiety tires out muscles. It tires out your brain. It even tires out your heart. Anxiety is like giving your body a daily workout, except without any of the health benefits. Also, the low energy may be the result of secondary issues related to anxiety, such as:
- Sleeplessness Anxiety can make it much more difficult to sleep, and in some cases, you may not even be aware of the problem. You may find that you fall asleep fairly easily, but you still don't wake up feeling rested. Even those that do sleep fairly soundly through the night may fall asleep later because they are unable to relax their mind to sleep quickly or fall into REM sleep fast enough.
- Empty Happiness Anxiety also appears to decrease the ability to feel positive emotions, like happiness. Much of your natural energy comes from your own motivations and ambitions. If you don't have that level of happiness necessary to ensure that you're energized to attack the day, then it is unlikely that you will have much energy to go about your daily activities.
- Chemical Changes Often when your body experiences any chemical imbalances, it causes fatigue. It's not always clear why this occurs, but there is a great deal of evidence that problems with your hormones or neurotransmitters can lead to fatigue, and sometimes even hypersomnia (extra sleeping - as is common with depression).
Everyone responds to stress in different ways, but many of these ways seem to create this feeling of being utterly drained of energy, and unfortunately, without that energy, it becomes much harder to engage in the activities that you need to try to cure your anxiety.
How to Address Low Energy From Anxiety
That's why it becomes very important to find ways to make sure that your energy levels stay high. Unfortunately, most medications that reduce anxiety are actually designed to tire out your body (to decrease the severity of anxiety symptoms), so medications are clearly not the best choice for this type of issue. Consider the following tips to help keep your energy levels high.
Coffee - Maybe
Ask any anxiety support specialist how to reduce your anxiety, and one of the first things they tell you is to cut out caffeine. Caffeine excites the body, and so naturally, it is believed that caffeine increases anxiety. But there is very little research evidence that states that caffeine, in general, is bad for anxiety.
The only possible exception may be for those with panic attacks. Caffeine has been shown to increase anxiety in those with panic attacks because of the way it affects heart rate. It has been shown to increase anxiety in high doses or when taken with refined sugars (like in energy drinks).
But there is some good news. A small amount of coffee once or twice a day is not believed to increase anxiety in those with panic attacks, and some studies have shown it may actually improve your mood. Just make sure you don't drink it near bedtime so that you can still sleep easily.
Immediately Take Action
Another trick is to make sure your body is always primed and ready for any event. You do this by never delaying anything. When your alarm goes off in the morning, you get up. When you find out the trash is full, you take it out. When you have to take your child to soccer practice, you get in the car and drive.
You essentially never delay anything, and never give yourself the opportunity for low energy levels to actually affect you. By taking action immediately, you train your body to avoid the pitfalls of procrastination. The ability to not do something is one of the reasons that feeling low energy can be a hard habit to break, so always make sure that if you have something to do, you do it without delay.
Exercise is one of the most underrated tools for controlling anxiety. In fact, some studies have shown that exercise may be as effective as some of the most powerful anxiety medications. Exercise changes hormone and neurotransmitter levels in a way that improves anxiety and relaxation.
But of course, the issue is being low energy, and exercise helps with that too. On a basic level, exercising regularly is helpful for ensuring a restful night's sleep, which is an integral part of improving natural energy. But beyond that, exercise can improve blood flow and the strength and stamina of your heart and muscles, which should make it harder for anxiety to tire you out.
Staying Out of the House
In addition to exercise, remaining active in general is important. Staying busy with fun and interesting activities gives your mind less chance to get fatigued from issues like boredom, which can reduce energy and increase the symptoms of fatigue from anxiety.
So make sure you stay busy and spend time with others. The more time you spend doing your best to enjoy life, the less your anxiety should hold you back.
Learning to Stop Anxiety Forever
Of course, none of this would be necessary if you simply learned to stop your anxiety. Anxiety is what's causing these affected energy levels, so controlling anxiety is what will give you your energy back.
Learn how to stop your anxiety with my free 7-minute anxiety test. This test is a crucial tool for ensuring that you learn how to control your anxiety and keep it under control.
Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Dec 05, 2017.