6 scary ways constant worrying can damage your body and mind

This article originally appeared and was published on AOL.com

Worrying is pretty much the worst. It’s those needling thoughts that seem to take over everything, making it impossible to concentrate on the present, relax, or even sometimes get to sleep at night.

Worry, though, is also part of life. We all have things that we have to worry about, be it kids, finances, or whatever new curveball life’s thrown at you lately.

In some cases, worrying is actually good for us. It makes us consider the possible outcomes of a situation, and helps us prepare for any of them. Worrying is a method of anticipating what might come next, and helps us be able to adapt and make the most of any outcome.

But when worry takes over, it can cripple us. It can interfere with decision-making, make us second-guess ourselves, and lead to a sense of paralysis in everyday life as we keep asking ourselves, “What if…?” In extreme cases, excess worrying can be a sign of a serious condition like generalized anxiety disorder.

Even worse is that worry doesn’t just damage us emotionally. The stress from worry can take a very physical toll on us, too.

Below, you’ll see all the things worry can do to your body. But this isn’t just another thing to worry about! If you find yourself caught in a vicious cycle of worry and stress, try to consciously take note of it and work on breaking that cycle.

If you need support, consider talking to a professional who can teach you some skills to soothe your worrying habits.

Worry Effect #1: Insomnia

We’ve all been kept up at night by something in our lives, but if it’s a common occurrence, it can get very serious.

Sleep is a necessity, not a luxury. Not getting enough sleep can do all kinds of awful physical and mental damage, and can make you just hopeless when it comes to functioning the next day.

Another bedroom effect of worrying? Your libido takes a nosedive, which can also lead to relationship issues.

Worry Effect #2: Digestive Issue

For many people, worry is characterized by a feeling of tightness or heaviness in the stomach, like all your organs have been tied up in a big knot.

Worry and anxiety affect our digestive systems and can lead to issues, like heartburn and ulcers. It can also lead to weight gain.

This is because a millennia ago, humans’ biggest cause for worry was not having enough food. So even to this day, when we’re stressed, we store weight.

Worry Effect #3: Memory Problems

While worrying might make us more prepared for problems, in some cases, it usually only causes more problems by consuming our consciousness and distracting us from what’s actually going on.

If you’re all wrapped up in worry, you’re less likely to remember where you put your keys, or to grab that bill that’s due on your way out, thus causing yourself more stress.

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