11 Subtle Signs You Struggle With Anxiety

by Lindsay E. Mack

When you think about anxiety, you may picture someone who suffers from panic attacks or crippling self-doubt. But not all symptoms of the disorder are writ large. There are some subtle signs you struggle with anxiety that may be easy to fly under the radar.

Please note, this does not mean that you must have a full-blown anxiety disorder if you happen to bite your fingernails every once in a while. After all, everyone has little habits that surface from time to time. But if you find yourself, say, struggling with constant stomach issues or avoiding many social situations, then it may be time to consider the possibility that you struggle with anxiety.

Of course, none of this is intended to cause you even more worry or fear. But if these signs ring true for your situation, then you may want to learn more about anxiety and the many ways you may cope with the condition. For instance, some people may benefit from simply becoming more aware of their tendencies toward anxiety, whereas others may find relief through talk therapy with a trained counselor. Whatever the case, remember that you do not have to suffer from feeling tightly wound and nervous all the time. Help is available.


You Have Muscle Tension

Do your muscles feel tightly wound? According to the Anxiety Centre, it's common for symptoms of anxiety to show up in the form of persistently tight muscles that may become painful. As the Anxiety Centre further explained, these may manifest as perpetually tight muscles or even spasms.


You Suffer From Stomach Issues

When it comes to anxiety, sometimes you will feel it in your gut. As noted in Calm Clinic, the same hormones that affect your anxiety can also do a number on your digestive tract. If your persistent stomach issues don't seem to have any other cause, consider the possibility of anxiety.


You're Self-Consciousness

Sure, everyone may feel a little nervous before giving a big presentation or going to a job interview. But ,as explained in Help Guide, people who are exceptionally nervous in common social situations may have an anxiety disorder. As further noted by Help Guide, if making small talk or calling someone on the phone makes you unduly nervous, then anxiety may be to blame.


You Strive For Perfectionism

At first glance, perfectionism may seem like a positive trait. I mean, what's so bad about trying your best? But as explained by the American Psychological Association, perfectionism has been found to correlate with anxiety. Perfectionism is like a mirage that you will never reach, so trying to achieve it can make you (understandably) anxious.


You Exhibit Avoidant Behavior

As noted in Psychology Today, avoidant behavior refers to the practice of steering clear of certain situations to prevent feelings of anxiety. For example, you may avoid leaving your house or participating in social situations. And as further explained by Psychology Today, these avoidant behaviors may actually make your feelings of anxiety worse.


You Grind Your Teeth

Sometimes your dentist may be the first person to recognize the potential signs of anxiety. According to WebMD, teeth grinding may be caused by anxiety or other stressors. As further noted by WebMD, teeth grinding may show up in the form of a sore jaw or even a headache.


You Have Nervous Habits

Biting your nails or constantly playing with your hair may be another potential sign of anxiety, as explained in Medical Daily. If your pen caps are all chewed beyond recognition, then you may want to consider the possibility of an anxiety problem.


You Have Trouble Concentrating

Granted, it can be difficult for many people to maintain concentration in the age of smart phones. But according to the Mayo Clinic, finding concentration difficult (or even 'blanking out') is one possible sign of an anxiety disorder.


You Fidget

Have trouble sitting still? According to Anxiety Centre, feeling fidgety or jumpy may be another potential sign of anxiety.


You're Shy

Sure, shyness is nice, but it can also be debilitating. Also, it can be difficult to tell the difference between shyness and a social anxiety disorder. But according to the Social Anxiety Institute, the boundaries of these conditions may overlap, and it's helpful to work with a professional to determine whether you are coping with extreme shyness or anxiety.


You Think Irrational Thoughts

Does your brain sometimes toss out thoughts that are bizarre but difficult to escape? Many people with anxiety have to deal with a mind-bending reality: they know their thoughts are irrational, but are often unable to cut them off, as explained in Everyday Health. These thoughts are yet another potential symptom of anxiety.