As each year goes on, and work/family pressures increases, so does stress and anxiety. It is estimated that over $299 billion a year is used to stressed related injuries and claims, like being home due to work related sickness to compensation, and it is also estimated that around 40 million people suffer from some form of anxiety, whether it is a Social anxiety disorder or a form of OCD.
And this anxiety can create many symptoms, including sweating!
Sweating is not as uncommon as people think, and while medication can of course help, their side effects is not always preferred.
But why do people who suffer from anxiety, sweat?
Quite simply, anxiety-type sweating takes place when the body has to cool down from the initial surge of energy due to the natural system of the fight-or-flight response. After the initial surge of nervous energy (including adrenaline) takes place, the body warms up, and as a result, the body has to sweat.
This is done to help the body cool down, and sweating (in most normal cases) is a healthy and required thing. If the body gets too warm, your vital organs, including the brain, will get damaged.
The problem with people suffering from anxiety and stress, is that the sweating takes place in a non-anxiety related situation (in most cases). And then the poor individual has to essentially, ‘sweat it out’
It could be anything that can trigger the anxiety, from going to a job interview, to going to speak to someone in a public place. If you are anxious and fearful of the future, your body will naturally kick in it’s, ‘fight-or-flight’ response, and you will begin to sweat, which isn’t really fair on the poor person involved.
They then have to conceal the fact that they are sweating, either by having to have a glass of cold water nearby, or by politely excusing themselves. And, of course, this makes the situation worse, as this alone will naturally increase their anxiety levels, thereby increasing the chance of more sweat to be produced.
And so the viscous cycle continues!
So, what is the answer, or does the individual have to take medication for the rest of their lives?
Well, as always, there is no, ‘one size fits all’ approach. Everybody is different, and as a result, has a unique and different way of combating their sweating.
But one way that is universal and can help, is deep breathing!
Deep breathing has been shown to help reduce sweating, but why?
Quite simply, you sweat because your body is warm from the anxiety energy rush. So it makes sense that if you can control the anxiety, you can pretty much control the sweating that is produced.
Well alright, it’s not as simple as that, but by learning to use deep breathing in a stressful situation you will calm the mind down. This will in turn calm the body down and cool it a bit, thereby allowing your, ‘sweat session’ to be reduced.
Just by taking some calm, deep breaths when the going gets tough will not only distract you slightly (as you will need to keep some attention on the breathing and actually feel it enter and exit your body) but it also has a somewhat meditative effect on your brain. And the result is that you calm your nerves along the process, allowing you to react more productively and effectively at the situation at hand.
But if deep breathing is simply something you cannot do, you can try airing your arms and hands. This itself will help cool the body down, and will help the sweating to be reduced, as you begin to cool the body down.
You can also try wearing clothes that breath. This will help cool the body, and, as a result, reduce the sweat, by reducing external body heat. If you are out an about, you can try jogging, which is an excellent stress-relieving tool, as jogging promotes the release of Endorphins, which help sooth the mind.
Jogging also helps reduce future sweating by tiring the muscles, thereby reducing the amount of energy produced that can cause sweating. Of course, jogging causes sweating by itself, so it is best done if you haven’t got an anxious event to attend to. But once you have had a good jog and cooled down, it will help reduce the onset of future sweating due to future anxiety.
And of course, don’t be scared of the anticipation of sweating, if this is what is worrying you. Try to relax if another bout of sweating takes place. Being nervous if you are going to sweat or not can increase your anxiety levels, which in turn increases the risk of sweating. Easier said than done, right, but try to find a way to relax and keep your mind focused on something positive, or try to be in the present moment, as this will help with your anxiety.
Sweating can be debilitating for people who have to endure it, but as you can see, there are ways you can help yourself when the sweating begins. Ultimately, the trick is to control the anxiety beforehand, before the anxiety controls you.