How to Stop Shaking from Anxiety
You may consider anxiety a mental health illness that only affects your mind. But for many, it exerts multiple physical symptoms, one of which is shaking. If you have ever caught your hands trembling or knees knocking just before an exam or an office presentation, know that anxiety is most likely triggering it.
While there is nothing wrong with the occasional trembling hands and body as you approach a fearful situation, some people have it much worse than others. Such people, often with a formal diagnosis of anxiety disorder, find it difficult to get on with their daily tasks because the shakiness is too much to handle.
For all such people, we have good news. It is possible to stop shaking with fear just because an anxious thought crosses your mind. This article will shed light on the common reasons why people have anxiety tremors and how to deal with them professionally and independently.
The top five factors mentioned below might put you at high risk of developing anxiety tremors.
Adrenaline is the most common link between tremors and anxiety. Anxiety is characterised by the fight-or-flight response to a perceived threat even when there is no apparent danger. The body responds to this by triggering the release of adrenaline hormone that fills your body with energy and prepares it to fight or flee the threat. All these changes eventually cause your body to shake. In most cases, the shaking lasts just as long as the danger is present and resolves as soon as it passes.
Anxiety and stress are also related to muscle tension. Muscle tension exerts a high amount of strain on your muscles which sometimes may manifest in the form of unusual movements. When the muscles become exhausted from stress, they undergo a tremor-like experience.
Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
Vitamin deficiencies are a lesser-known reason some people may develop tremors due to anxiety. Experts believe that anxiety lowers the levels of certain minerals, such as magnesium, that the body needs to cope with stress. Because magnesium plays a role in regulating nerve function, its deficiency is likely to cause muscle tremors and twitching.
Dehydration does carry the potential to increase the risk of tremors. While it is not usually a symptom of anxiety, the disorder can worsen it. Worsening dehydration, in turn, exacerbates the anxiety symptoms, throwing an individual into a vicious cycle that becomes difficult to get out of.
Almost everyone occasionally trembles a bit out of fear, especially during a stressful time or dealing with a new situation. For example, it is natural to feel nervous and start shaking when you are about to present something in front of a large crowd of people. However, for some, the problem gets so severe that it hinders their ability to complete the task. For such people, the tips mentioned below can work:
Taking slow, deep breaths can help your body calm down quickly. Whenever you are shaking out of worry or fear, your body releases adrenaline as a part of its defensive biological response. This excessively high adrenaline level can overwhelm anyone, but deep breathing can control the flood of stress hormones.
To practice deep breathing, take a breath in through the nose, hold it in for a few seconds, and release it through the mouth.
You may think of meditation as a long, complex process that requires a lot of dedication and practice. On the contrary, meditation can be performed effectively in as little as one minute without preparations or training. The one-minute meditation session allows you to focus entirely on your breathing and shift your attention away from the cause of your anxiety and the consequent tremors.
Multiple online resources can guide you in performing short meditations. Alternatively, you may download an application on your smartphone and take help from it.
A Short Walk
The quickest way to deal with anxiety tremors is by kicking all extra adrenaline out of your body, and walking can be the perfect way to do it. Whenever you feel your anxiety levels building and your hands trembling, leave whatever you are doing and go for a five-minute walk. If possible, surround yourself with nature and fresh air to feel at peace with yourself and the world.
Physical activity can help reduce the symptoms of anxiety a great deal. Not only does it serve as an outlet for all the accumulated energy due to the fight-or-flight response, but it also releases endorphins to uplift your mood.
Reduced Caffeine Intake
Excessive caffeine consumption can sometimes make you jittery and shaky and even contribute to anxiety. So whenever you have an important meeting, limit your coffee intake to avoid experiencing tremors or shakiness.
It might indicate an underlying anxiety disorder if you catch yourself shaking too often or every day. In such circumstances, getting professional treatment is warranted along with adopting certain stress reduction habits, such as the following.
Yoga is the best practice to avail the benefits of exercise and meditation together. Exercise can stretch your muscles which helps relieve tension and gets rid of excessive levels of adrenaline from the body. Practising yoga every day can also better manage your nerves. If you have never exercised before in life, it is normal to feel nervous about starting it now. However, remember that, unlike the usual high-intensity workouts, yoga provides you with the flexibility to adapt moves that work best for you. So consider joining a yoga class in person or online and start managing your anxiety and tremors in the long run.
Another way to keep your stress and anxiety levels down is through massage therapy. Getting a professional massage can be the perfect way to free your mind from racing thoughts while relieving extra tension and pressure from the body. Even a simple massage like a foot rub can work wonders for many people. If it’s not possible to get a professional massage, try doing it yourself to reconnect with your body.
Many people often undermine the importance of sleep for overall health. A lack of adequate sleep can easily make anxiety symptoms worse for anyone. Alternatively, getting 7 to 8 hours of peaceful sleep dramatically reduces the issue of anxiety-induced shaking.
If you have difficulty falling asleep every night, there are different solutions to try. Minimise using your phone or any other electronic gadget close to bedtime to protect yourself from sleep-altering blue light. Avoid drinking coffee or exercise at least 4 hours before bedtime, and make sure your bed is comfortable enough to fall asleep. Make your bedroom environment dark by draping curtains or using an eye mask, and keep the temperature on the cooler side as it helps you slip into slumber much faster.
In addition to self-help measures, people with anxiety tremors always have an option to seek professional treatment for their underlying issues. A typical treatment plan to control anxiety body tremors may include one or more of the following therapies:
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
CBT is undoubtedly the most popular therapy for managing anxiety and many other mental health disorders. As a type of psychotherapy, it aims to change anxiety-inducing destructive thought patterns through learning to control automatic responses. During a CBT session, a therapist helps you identify the potential triggers and supports you in rewiring your brain to respond differently to it and eliminate the shakiness.
Creative Art Therapies
Research reveals different types of creative art therapies, such as dance, music therapy, bibliotherapy, and art therapy, can significantly reduce anxiety symptoms, including shaking. During a session of creative art therapy, you focus your mind on creating something, such as a piece of art, choreography, or a musical number, that helps your brain focus on the process instead of the anxiety trigger.
Equine therapy involves horseback riding that significantly helps people overcome social phobia and anxiety. The horses involved in this therapy are specially trained and quickly bond with the patient to help them regulate their behaviours, emotions, and responses more positively.
A lot of people with underlying anxiety fail to benefit from therapy alone. In such instances, experts resort to pharmaceutical medication, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs. As the most common and effective class of antidepressants, SSRIs can keep anxiety symptoms in check, including shakiness, and help individuals live happily and fulfilled life. For some people, using SSRIs reduces their symptoms and helps them reach a point where they eventually agree to access therapy.
If you are particularly concerned about shaking uncontrollably due to anxiety, you must get in touch with your doctor to manage the issue. The issue may seem insignificant at first, but if not addressed, it can quickly progress to become severe and start affecting the quality of life. Apart from the difficulties in performing daily tasks, shaking body anxiety causes can make anyone feel embarrassed about it.
Remember that no matter how intense you think your problem is, there is a cure for anxiety and its symptoms. You may wish to enquire about your possible options from a primary healthcare provider or get in touch with a mental health professional directly. With the right combination of therapy and medication, you can overcome this mental illness and get a chance to live your life free from all worries.
Is shaking a sign of anxiety?
Yes, anxiety can be one of the many reasons why someone may shake or develop tremors. This occurs as the high anxiety levels prepare the body to fight a dangerous situation by releasing stress hormones. The high levels of this hormone manifest as multiple physical symptoms, one of which is shakiness.
What are the different types of anxiety tremors?
Tremors due to anxiety are highly disruptive and lead to considerable stress. In other cases, they can be relatively mild and hardly noticeable. In addition to the apparent tremors of hands, some other ways anxiety can lead to muscle shaking in the body include muscle cramping or spasms in the legs or arms.
What other symptoms can anxiety induce?
Anxiety can lead to a broad range of physical and emotional symptoms that may vary from person to person. Some of the common ones include:
A racing heart
Feeling of dread
Anticipating the worst
Irritability or restlessness
Are there any other health issues that can cause shaking?
Anxiety is not the only reason to be blamed for the shakiness. Many other conditions may produce a similar effect, such as:
Traumatic brain injury
Alcohol use disorder
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