Relationship Fitness

S12: Anxiety E5: Anxious Sensations

In “Relationship Workout for Men,” Season 12 Episode 5 titled “Anxious Sensations,” Vince dives into the physical manifestations of anxiety, underscoring that anxiety isn’t solely an emotional state but also has tangible bodily effects. He lists common symptoms like rapid heartbeat, breathing difficulties, and muscle tension, emphasizing the importance of recognizing these as indicators of underlying anxiety. Vince offers practical advice on managing these physical sensations through mindful breathing, regular exercise, and relaxation techniques, advocating for a holistic approach to handling anxiety. Through this episode, Vince encourages men to prioritize their mental and physical health to improve their quality of life and relationships, challenging outdated notions of masculinity that equate toughness with silence.

Welcome to Relationship Workout for Men, a podcast dedicated to helping men be intentional in choosing a better partner, and being a better partner for the person they choose.

Season 12, Episode 5: Anxious Sensations

Anxiety isn’t just a state of mind; it often manifests physically in our bodies in various ways. These physical sensations can serve as warning flags, indicating the onset of anxious thoughts and feelings. Understanding and addressing these bodily cues is crucial in managing anxiety effectively. Here are six common physical sensations associated with anxiety:

1. Rapid Heartbeat and Chest Tightness: One of the most noticeable signs of anxiety is an increased heart rate, which can feel like your heart is racing or pounding. This is often accompanied by a feeling of tightness or discomfort in the chest.

2. Breathing Difficulties: Shortness of breath or a feeling of being unable to take deep breaths is another common physical symptom of anxiety.

3. Stomach Discomfort: Anxiety can lead to gastrointestinal issues like nausea, stomach aches, or diarrhea. This is due to the close connection between the brain and the digestive system.

4. Muscle Tension and Pain: Chronic anxiety often causes muscles to tense up, leading to muscle pain or discomfort, especially in the neck, shoulders, and back.

5. Headaches and Dizziness: Tension headaches and feelings of light-headedness or dizziness are also common physical manifestations of anxiety.

6. Fatigue and Insomnia: Despite feeling mentally exhausted, anxiety can make it difficult to relax and fall asleep, leading to a cycle of fatigue and insomnia.

These physical sensations can act as warning flags, alerting you to the presence of anxiety. By tuning into these bodily cues, you can become more aware of your emotional state. This awareness is the first step in addressing both the mental and physical aspects of anxiety.

So, what can you do if you are experiencing what seems like problematic physical sensations? Here are eight actions to consider: 

1. Mindful Breathing: When you notice signs of anxiety, such as rapid breathing or a racing heart, practice deep, mindful breathing. This helps in slowing down the heart rate and calming the nervous system.

2. Regular Exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity can alleviate muscle tension and improve overall mood by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural stress-relievers.

3. Relaxation Techniques: Techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, or meditation can be effective in reducing muscle tension and promoting a sense of calm.

4. Adequate Sleep: Establishing a regular sleep schedule and creating a calming bedtime routine can improve sleep quality, helping to reduce fatigue and anxiety.

5. Healthy Diet: Consuming a balanced diet and staying hydrated can help in managing gastrointestinal symptoms associated with anxiety.

6. Mindfulness and Stress Management: Incorporating mindfulness practices into your daily routine can help you stay grounded and manage stress more effectively.

7. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (or CBT): CBT is an effective psychological treatment for anxiety, helping to identify and change negative thought patterns that contribute to anxiety symptoms.

8. Professional Help: If physical symptoms persist or significantly impact your daily life, consulting a healthcare professional is advisable. They can provide guidance on managing anxiety and its physical manifestations.

Remember, the physical sensations associated with anxiety are not just discomforts but signals from your body, indicating the need for attention and care. By recognizing these signs and employing effective strategies to address them, you can better manage anxiety’s physical and mental aspects. 

Unfortunately, many of us guys were taught to just toughen things out. This is what men do, along with real men don’t cry either.

But remember, taking care of your body is a crucial step in taking care of your mind, which is also crucial in maintaining a high-quality relationship. Keeping things that are creating anxiety for you bottled up inside might not be helping anyone. 

My suggestion is to make improving the quality of your life and your relationship a priority, over following outdated ideas likely your father might have instilled in you, which his father likely instilled in him. It’s actually the tougher guy that addresses whatever is causing him anxiety, so he can show up as the best partner possible.

That said, there are anxiety disorders that are really difficult to address by ourselves which we would do all well to be aware of. And that’s the topic of our next episode.

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