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what physical feelings of anxiety do you get?

Community Member

hey there, what physical symptoms of anxiety do you experience?

I often feel very alone in my experience of having physical chest (what I think are heart) spasms and was wanting to create a space for everyone to list their physical feelings that come hand in hand with anxiety so we can all feel less alone.

hope everyone is well.

795 Replies 795

For me recently anytime I am anxious or get the feeling of panic it is the pain in chest and shallow breathing, usually leading to lightheaded feeling and dizziness. I am not getting nauseous too often, but completely lose appetite, even if I am extremely hungry. And I have a need to do something, just get my head busy with some small easy achievable task, like wash dishes, make couple bullet points short term todo list or similar

Community Member

Here goes - am new to this but have been so inspired by reading your posts, thought I would join in.

My symptoms include:

  • rush of adrenaline blooming through my chest and down my arms/hands and feet.
  • general sense of dread (sometimes overwhelming sense of dread).
  • rapid heart beat.
  • flush face, feeling hot in face but can sometimes be cold in the body with shivers and chattering teeth. Hot flushes is a definite!
  • digestive issues, including diarrhea, vomitting/dry retching, pain in stomach area (at the point where my sternum ends). This then sets me up for days of problems with eating and drinking as it upsets my GORD/IBS and I have to spend days attempting to ‘reset’ my gut.
  • general feeling of unworthiness.
  • not sleeping and being tired (tiredness is worse in days after anxiety day/s as my body is trying to recouperate).
  • restlessness.
  • headaches
  • and a new physical symptom that starting in the past couple of weeks (new one on me being a 25 year veteran of anxiety and panic attacks): spasms in mucles across different sites of my body from my chest to my arms to my legs or my feet. They vary in degrees and some bolt me awake from a deep sleep. The ones that come into the chest area make me anxious and the cycle keeps going.

I have been struggling a bit with the management of my anxiety following several months of good mental health, so clearly this year (COVID, friends/family health, my own health and a crap storm vortex at work) has taken more of a toll than I thought and looking back I missed some of the early warning signs that I wasn’t investing enough time and energy on my mental health.

thanks for all of your contributions, it really does help to know that we are not alone

lt's the mental block , the complete blank , l hate the most.


Yes the pre- bed anxiety is a real pain. That and first thing in morning seem to be the biggest times for the anxiety battle for me. Though it does happen through out day/night.

The pre-bed battle then means sleep is difficult or interrupted or impossible. Which makes the cycle worse.

come on science, where is the magic cure?

Hi Everyone and thankyou for your valuable contributions too!

Hey Calmismygoal....thankyou heaps for your heartfelt post...I understand where you are coming from .It is an ugly place to be in..25 Years is a long time! I used to have chronic anxiety for a long time yet it has less impact nowadays

I really hope you can write your own thread topic (only if you wish to of course) as you will have a lot of replies with like minded people. I wish there was a magic cure for this too

my kind thoughts


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Does anyone forget words. Like simple words?

often when im mid sentence or on a verbal roll I suddenly forget what i was about to say, or forget the word i was trying to say.
i get a bit embarrassed because i start going “uh, uh”

Another one is facial tic. Very minor, and usually unnoticeable to people.


Community Member

Hi everyone,

new member. I was directed to this topic after my first post which was regarding anxiety being caused by physical reasons, not 'how you are thinking' which is often cited as the cause of anxiety.

I have had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibro Myalgia since 1995. I started getting anxiety around 2016, but it got worse around 2018.

As far as physical symptoms of my anxiety, I am grateful they aren't as terrible as most of you describe. Mine is just a general uneasiness that ebbs and flows, but sometimes rises into more of a panic attack. If I feel it rising, I take medication, I use it minimally, and it's also habit forming,so.

My panic attacks just feel like a dread that rises up from my stomach, and I usually need to stand up, and often I feel like I need fresh air, so I go outside and breath. I started getting them while I was asleep. I would wake up and see the dark room, and not be fully awake. but feeling scared of dying.
I did some research and it may be lack of oxygen that triggers it. Because of the CFS my body's temperature regulation doesn't work properly, so if I get a little dehydrated and get hot in my sleep, that can trigger the panic attack too.

When I first went to a GP in 2018, he directed me to an online course, which I did. It was all about 'how you think' which didn't resonate with my experience. I did some online research and found a site about how to deal with panic attacks, and I use those tips.

1. I say to myself: 'you are not in danger, you are just uncomfortable' over and over.

2. breathing: deep breath out, slow breath in, repeat. Basically trying to slow the heart which is pumping adrenaline around the body.

I usually can't sleep after these attacks, so I have a snack and watch TV or surf the net until I feel tired again. Usually takes 3-4 hours.

My contention regarding physical reasons for anxiety as opposed to 'how you think' stems from my experience with CFS/FM. The hormone system is disrupted, which makes you sensitive to noise, activity, temperature, smells, dehydration, some foods, etc. This, along with the socially isolating result of a chronic illness, tends to make you depressed and/or anxious, so if you think about your real situation, that can cause worse anxiety, and panic attacks. If I 'change the way I think' then I either have to deny my reality, or ignore it, which is difficult.

So I am posting for the people in a similar situation.

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi davoid.

Thanks for sharing. very similar tips to what i use. And i find that they do work. But sometimes the thoughts and feelings are too strong, to which i have to acknowledge them and let them pass on their own.

sometimes that is easy, sometimes that is very hard.


I hear ya. It is hard sometimes.

Some other things I've discovered which may help others:

1. cortisol

There is a correlation between blood sugar and cortisol. Blood sugar low = cortisol high.
You may have heard the term 'hangry', this when you get angry when you're hungry. Your blood sugar level drops which triggers the adrenal glands to release cortisol and other hormones to try and raise your blood sugar level.

Cortisol is released in pulses at different levels during a 24 hour cycle. It peaks early in the morning; 7am-9am for most people, which wakes you up. The pulses are less intense as the day progresses, and cortisol levels slowly drop in the evening, ready for sleep at night.

But if your cortisol cycle is not smooth and steady, then you can have anxiety. People like this shouldn't consume caffeine, especially coffee, as this boosts cortisol. Fasting is another thing to avoid. I did fasting everyday for about 18 months, and this has contributed to my anxiety now. A lack of carbs can increase cortisol as well.

Carbs should be low glycemic index, i.e. wholemeal bread, vegetables, whole oats. The evening meal should be carbs and protein and fats. Fats and protein with carbs slows the blood sugar increase. Avoid sugar snacks. These do raise the blood sugar, but it's a sharp spike, and then a rapid fall to lower than where you began.

If you find your anxiety or panic appears at certain times. Take a look at your diet and see if it might be affecting your blood sugar level.

Exercise like a gym workout in the evening isn't good for a stable normal cortisol cycle either.

I hope this helps. There's lot's of books, and medical articles about cortisol and blood sugar that are worth checking out if you think it might apply to your anxiety.

Hey Not_Batman,

Yes, I sometimes go completely blank, don't know what to say, get disconnected, the world just passes around