Anxiety is a powerful emotional state that has potentially profound effects on health and well-being. Some of the more interesting effects of anxiety on health might be mediated by communication with other people and how anxiety affects this communication. Anxiety can also affect the presentation and course of many physical and psychological health ailments.

There are few emotional states that influence physiological systems as directly and immediately as anxiety. People who are anxious often experience an accelerated heart rate, increased blood pressure, nausea and gastrointestinal distress, shortness of breath, a dry mouth, sweating, and tension headaches. These symptoms understandably disrupt sleep, appetite, and concentration. In addition to somatic symptoms, anxiety is expressed in apprehensive thoughts or cognitions (e.g., “I bet I look stupid,” or “Is my ...

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