Body Checking

During periods of anxiety we may become prone to scanning our bodies for signs of an anomaly or trying to find something that’s ‘wrong’. When we become confused about the way we feel – particularly when anxiety and panic strikes unexpectedly – we can immediately turn attention to ourselves to find the cause or a reasoning to why we feel so different.

Hypersensitivity is when we find ourselves in a state of self-observation; we are scanning our bodies to try and find problems to justify the intense feeling of fear we may be experiencing. For example, we may think that an odd pain we experience is a sign of something serious, perhaps we become irrationally fearful of something in our environment, or a sense of derealisation indicates that we’re potentially going insane.

Hypersensitivity unfortunately works hand in hand with anxiety. When we are anxious and dealing with lots of adrenaline we may – without even acknowledging it – attach odd reasoning to why we feel the way we do.

For example, when we are anxious our breathing alters (shortness of breath) and our heart often palpitates; our reasoning tells us that the shortness of breath and the rapid heart beat has caused the anxiety when in fact it is quite the opposite. If you find yourself scanning your body then I’m afraid you’re already anxious!

It is common for most people to experience palpitations and differences in breathing and often passes unnoticed. However when we are hypersensitive we often ‘clock on’ to every twinge and difference which just adds to the worry pile. The breathing becomes a serious issue and the heart palpitation is suddenly something severe. This applies to muscle twitching, aches, pains and odd sensations within the body.

Hypersensitivity and body checking occurs as a direct result of adrenaline being released into the system but is unfortunately intensified through repetitive habit. When our body activates our ‘fight or flight’ response we immediately enter a mode of hyperawareness which is handy in times of danger and forms part of our genetic make-up. However, when an anxious episode strikes, the same process happens except that confusion often follows because there is often no identifiable cause/danger in front of us.

The hyperawareness can then become channelled into hypersensitivity and we begin to analyse ourselves. After all if there’s no danger in front of us or an easy explanation then it must be our bodies that are the cause of the problem! Over time self-analysing or body scanning can turn into a bad habit. We begin to search for things that simply are not there. The simple process of body scanning causes a lot of unnecessary stress for the body to handle.

Body checking and being hyposensitive to changes within our bodies often perpetuates anxiety. Why not discuss your issues down at the Panic Room and help yourself to alleviate any unnecessary worry you may be carrying around with you.