8 Signs You're a Woman With Anxiety

Over 200 million people are struggling with an anxiety disorder, and women are twice as likely to be diagnosed as men. Let’s talk about some of the symptoms that women with anxiety exhibit.

8 signs of anxiety in women

1. You feel like you’re always on edge.

Does it take very little to push you past your breaking point? Maybe it’s traffic on your way to work, little remarks from your mother-in-law, or a computer that keeps freezing up on you. Whatever it is, they’re things that normally wouldn’t have you “losing it,” and yet, you can’t seem to keep your cool.

Being a woman with anxiety means that big or small, everything seems to threaten to push you past your breaking point. You just can’t take it anymore.

woman with anxiety crying

2. It’s hard to shut your brain off at night.

Even if you go to bed feeling exhausted, you can’t sleep. Period. Psychologists say that humans have more than 6,000 thoughts per day. But you’re pretty sure you have more than 6,000 at night alone.

Your brain races through memories of the past and predictions of what could happen in the future. From that time in fourth grade when a classmate made fun of your clothes to what might happen if you lose your job—even though there’s been zero indication that this is going to happen—your mind won’t stop.

3. It seems like something has zapped you of your energy.

And it goes beyond the fact that you can’t get to sleep at a reasonable hour. The mere thought of certain things makes you exhausted. Taking a shower. Getting in the car to pick up groceries. Brushing your teeth. Even the most mundane of tasks feels completely overwhelming to you.

woman with anxiety with face in hand

4. You can’t concentrate on one thing at a time.

Research confirms it: Your brain can only hold so much information at one time. This helps to explain why sometimes, you walk into a room to get something and forget what it was as soon as you walk through the door. It also explains why when you’re a woman with anxiety, your mind jumps from one thought to the next to the next. 

You can’t focus on any one thing for too long, and whenever you jump to the next thought, whatever you were previously thinking of… seems to disappear from your memory.

5. Your heart is racing and you can’t seem to catch your breath.

It isn’t all in your head—literally. When you’re in a state of anxiety, your body is basically trying to determine whether it should fight, flight, or freeze up. It’s almost like you’re evaluating a threat that isn’t really there. (In fact, this is exactly what’s happening.)

In this state, certain parts of your body kick into high gear—namely, your hypothalamus and pituitary gland (in your brain) and your adrenal glands. They begin to release all sorts of hormones, and it’s these hormones that make your heart speed up and your breathing choppy.

6. Your belly is a total mess.

Is your stomach upset? Are you experiencing diarrhea or maybe nausea? That could be a sign of anxiety, and there’s a specific reason why it’s happening.

woman with anxiety experiencing stomachache in bed

More and more over time, science is unearthing the connection between the brain and gut. In fact, some call the gut your second brain. Another name for this connection? The gut-brain axis.

On one end of the axis, you have your central nervous system, and on the other, the enteric nervous system, which belongs to your gut. These two systems are linked. When one acts up, the other can as well. That’s why, if you’re experiencing any type of emotional distress, you can have stomach problems. And conversely, if you’re experiencing stomach problems, it can affect your mental health.

7. You’re sweating more than normal.

Remember the fight, flight, or freeze reaction we talked about earlier? Let’s get back to that.

Normally, sweating is a good thing. It’s our body’s way of regulating temperature, since as the sweat forms and then evaporates, it cools you down.

When we’re talking about women with anxiety, though, it’s a different story. When anxiety causes your hypothalamus to kick into gear, your apocrine and eccrine sweat glands start to produce sweat. But it’s exacerbated by the fact that your hormones are also telling you to breathe faster, your heart to be harder and faster, and your blood pressure to go up. Your sweat glands overworking is yet another symptom in this chain reaction.

It’s no longer sweating simply to keep your body cool. It’s sweating as a result of serious nervousness and panic.

8. You’re pretty sure that something horrible is around every corner.

Something bad is going to happen. You just know it. And almost because you’re looking for it, it happens. That just validates your premonition.

And when something good happens? Well, it probably won’t last long. Nothing good ever lasts long.

This, friend, is anxiety. It’s that feeling of impending doom. That constant panic. That sense that you shouldn’t get too comfortable where you are because something terrible is about to happen.

Woman with anxiety, reflected in mirror, head in hands

So, what can a woman with anxiety do about it?

We’d like to leave you with a few science-backed ways to get a handle on your anxiety.

How to Get a Grip on Your Anxiety

1. Limit your alcohol intake.

Many of us drink to relax, and we do experience that… temporarily.

However, did you know that once that feeling of calmness leaves, your anxiety can come back even worse than before? It has to do with your body’s and brain’s hormonal/chemical response to alcohol—particularly when the effects of the alcohol start to wear off.

It’s safe to enjoy a glass here and there. But avoid using alcohol to calm your nerves.

2. Get your body moving.

You already know that exercise is good for you, but it’s especially good for you if you’re a woman with anxiety. 

Mom stretching with her daughter in living room

When you exercise, you trigger the frontal parts of your brain. These regions help control the amygdala, which is the part of the brain that reacts to threats.

Plus, when you get your heart rate up through physical activity, your brain chemistry changes. Anti-anxiety neurochemicals (like serotonin) get to work, helping you to feel better.

Be sure to make eating healthy a priority, too. Nutrition and diet are closely linked with mental health.

3. Talk to someone.

There’s a reason why you feel better after talking to someone about your problems. Science has coined it “affect labeling,” and it helps your amygdala understand that what you perceived as a threat or huge problem really isn’t.

So, maybe you speak to a friend you trust. Or perhaps you go to your partner. You might also consider working with a licensed professional who’s trained to help women with anxiety, just like you.

Cerebral on a mission to destigmatize mental health and make treatment available, affordable, and accessible for all. We’re here for you, and we’re ready to help. If you’d like to talk to someone about your anxiety, start by filling out our free emotional assessment so that we can get to know you better.  

You don’t have to suffer in silence with your anxiety. Help is all around you.

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  • If you are in emotional distress, here are some resources for immediate help:

  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline:
    Call 1-800-273-8255
  • Crisis Text Line:
    Text Home to 741-741
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