How Hormones Affect Anxiety & Vice Versa, According To Experts

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Ah, hormones. Those truly magnificent "chemical messengers" regulate basically everything that goes on in the body. And while hormones might not be the first thing you think about when you consider your mental health, the relationship between hormones and anxiety is very real, and might offer some insight into your emotional wellbeing.

"Hormones in general impact a great deal — and changes in hormone levels can increase or decrease our ability to respond to the ever-changing world around us," Denver-based physician Dr. Savita Ginde, the VP of Medical Affairs at Stride Community Health Center and former chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, tells Bustle.

"We know that estrogen levels can affect both anxiety and depression. Exactly how is more of a mystery, but estrogen plays a part. In reverse, stress impacts hormones," Ginde says.

Chronic stress affects both adrenaline and cortisol, Ginde says, which can, in turn, throw the entire endocrine system out of whack. As a result, it's critical to try and find ways to limit and manage stress.

And while there are a variety of ways you might go about balancing hormones and treating anxiety, because these things feed each other so cyclically, Ginde's suggested first line of defense to create balance is practicing emotional coping techniques.

"An often overlooked strategy [to balancing hormonal anxiety] is emotional — meaning being more aware of ourselves and how we react in difficult or unexpected situations," Ginde says. "By working to strengthen resilience through things like patience, empathy, critical thinking, and problem-solving, you're better able to manage any impact on our abilities that result from hormonal changes."

Below, take a look at some of the interesting ways that hormones and anxiety are related to one another.