Feeling like your brain is spinning or being zapped by an electric surge might not be the first things that come to mind when you picture anxiety, but there is a connection. Anxiety can show up in many different ways – from ringing in the ear to phantom smells, blurred vision and even feeling your phone vibrate when it hasn’t. And as strange as these anxiety symptoms may sound, they are very real experiences for many people. Unfortunately, trying to figure out if anxiety is causing these sensations isn’t always a straightforward process and you may even start to think there’s a much worse issue occurring. The good news: whether it’s a funky physical sensation or a seemingly unrelated emotion, connecting these mysterious symptoms to anxiety can be the key to better managing them.
19 Unusual Symptoms of Anxiety you Shouldn’t Ignore
Anxiety doesn’t always present itself as hot flashes and excessive sweating. There are all kinds of other anxiety symptoms that, at first glance, may not even seem linked to your mental health at all. However, anxiety can manifest in many different ways. Understanding what those are can help you identify these sensations as anxiety when they come, so you can properly managing them moving forward.
Yup, it’s true! You might experience some not-so-fun symptoms like burping, passing gas, diarrhea, and heartburn when you’re feeling anxious. Don’t worry though, these symptoms are common signs of anxiety and temporary.
If you’re having persistent problems with digestion-related symptoms, you can try some herbal remedies for a nervous stomach, such as smelling peppermint essential oil, eating a piece of ginger candy or sipping on some ginger ale.
2. Ringing in your ear
This is when you hear sounds like buzzing, ringing, humming, whizzing, chirping, roaring, swooshing or other noises, even when there’s no actual sound present. This anxiety symptom may be more common during times of high stress and anxiety, so practicing some relaxation techniques to keep your stress levels down can help.
3. Burning sensations
Anxiety can impact your skin, lips, tongue, and eyes, and you might feel sensations like a sunburn, a prickling feeling, or even shooting sparks. And while this anxiety symptom can be quite irritating – pardon the pun, it is typically harmless and will go away as your anxiety eases.
4. Skipped heartbeats
When you’re feeling anxious, you might notice some physical symptoms like skipped heartbeats, palpitations, or a racing heart. Skipped heartbeats, palpitations or a racing heart can all be symptoms of anxiety. What’s so troublesome is that it can be difficult to tell the difference between heart irregularities caused by anxiety and more serious heart-health problems. But if you have anxiety and typically experience these kinds of symptoms, and are generally healthy, it’s almost always just your anxiety.
Try not to overthink this one too much
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Numbness or tingling in your hands, feet, arms, legs, or face is a common symptom of anxiety that some people may also describe as physical weakness. Grounding techniques or stones for anxiety can help bring your attention back to the present moment and ease these symptoms of anxiety.
6. Excessive yawning
This unusual symptom of anxiety is a common response to hyperventilation, which can occur during anxiety attacks. When your body feels like it’s not getting enough oxygen, you may start yawning frequently as a way to compensate. Try these deep breathing exercises to boost your oxygen and slow down your breathing.
7. Smelling things that aren’t there
This phenomenon is known as phantosmia (an olfactory hallucination) that sometimes happens with anxiety. You might suddenly detect a scent that no one else around you can, or a previously neutral smell might become unpleasant. Grounding techniques can also be super helpful for these types of “phantom” symptoms as it brings you back to reality. You may also want to keep some grounding stones for anxiety in your pocket or purse to keep you grounded and in touch with reality.
8. Brain zaps
Ever feel like your brain is experiencing shivers or zaps? This sensation can feel like an electrical jolt, shaking, vibration, or tremor in the brain and it is an unusual symptom of anxiety. The good news: it’s usually just a sensation and should go away on its own as your anxiety calms down.
9. Feeling your phone vibrate when it isn’t
Have you ever experienced the sensation of your phone vibrating, only to find out it didn’t? Well, this could be a result of attachment anxiety. This type of anxiety can cause you to be hyper-aware of your phone, always anticipating a message or call from someone. As a result, you might perceive non-existent vibrations or even phantom sounds, leading you to check your phone repeatedly.
Most importantly, this could be a sign of unhealthy habits with your phone and it may be time for a digital detox.
10. Body trembling
Anxiety can cause shaking or trembling, spasms in your arms or legs, cramping, and even longer or slower shaking than usual. This symptom of anxiety will go away as your nervous system goes back to its normal state. So, take practice those deep breathing exercises; it’s a surefire way to calm down.
11. Being in a dream state
Derealization can manifest in different ways, such as feeling disconnected from the world and people around you, almost like being in a dream state. It can also distort your perception of space, time, and the size of things, making everything seem foggy or fuzzy. An excellent way to come out of a state of derealization is to ground yourself using some grounding stones for anxiety or grounding exercises, such as ‘The Big 3″ where you bring your attention (and identify) 3 things objects, 3 sounds and 3 body parts.
12. Feeling a lump in your throat
Feeling like you have a lump in your throat or having difficulty swallowing, or a tightness in your throat can be a symptom of anxiety. Try taking a sip of water to soothe this sensation and remember, it is just a feeling. You don’t actually have a lump in your throat.
13. Having problems seeing
Anxiety can cause several eye-related symptoms, such as blurred vision, dilated pupils, watery eyes, and seeing shapes that appear to float in front of your eyes. Again, grounding exercises and tools, such as an anxiety spinner ring, will make a significant difference when dealing with these types of anxiety symptoms.
Skin rashes, hives, itching, and other related symptoms on your face, abdomen, arms and chest can happen during episodes of anxiety. Anxiety can also worsen pre-existing skin conditions like rosacea or psoriasis. Regular stress management is key if you’re experiencing stress-related breakouts. You can also use anxiety-friendly cosmetics, such as essential oil facial sprays made with plant extracts known to reduce anxiety. As for hives that bust out when you’re nervous, these typically go away as you calm down and are no sign for concern.
15. Having freezing hands/feet
Freezing hands and feet when you’re stressed or anxious can be caused by your body reducing blood flow to your extremities, causing your hands and feet to feel cold and icy. You can try shaking out your hands and feet to get more blood flowing.
16. Chest pains
We all know about the classic anxiety symptom of a racing heart, but did you know that chronic anxiety can also cause chest pain or heart flutters? When your body goes into fight, flight, or freeze mode, it can lead to an increased heart rate and muscle tension, which can cause pain if you’re dealing with anxiety on the regular. This symptom can be especially concerning because it can feel like the onset of a heart attack, which can trigger even more anxiety.
Hiccups are usually thought of as a pesky digestive issue caused by involuntary spasms of the diaphragm. However, did you know that mental or emotional stress can actually trigger or worsen them too? Even kids and teenagers could experience hiccups as a result of psychological distress, according to a small case study. Take a couple of deep breaths, try to relax and this symptom should subside.
18. Circulation problems
Anxiety and fear can cause blood flow to slow down as stress hormones like adrenalin cause blood vessels to narrow, which is known as vasoconstriction. This can lead to hot flashes and changes in body temperature, which can cause even more anxiety. If you’re experience a hot flash, use some ice cubes or an ice pack on your pressure points to balance your temperature.
19. Jaw pain
Did you know that anxiety can cause you to grind your teeth unconsciously, a condition known as bruxism, or clench your jaw while you’re awake or asleep? This can result in symptoms of a TMJ disorder such as jaw pain, facial pain, and joint clicking. Most people are unaware of their teeth-grinding habit, particularly at night. Luckily, a dentist can check for signs of bruxism and offer solutions to protect your teeth, such as wearing a night guard.
Anxiety can be a challenging experience, but there are strategies and treatments that can help. Seeking professional help, practicing relaxation techniques, and making lifestyle changes are all effective ways to manage anxiety symptoms, regardless of how unusual they may be. Remember, taking care of your mental health is crucial for your overall well-being, and seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. With the right support and tools, it is possible to find relief from unusual anxiety symptoms and live a fulfilling life.
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