Many articles exist about anxiety and stress, but only a few posts are available about the physical symptoms of anxiety. The truth is that many people know what being anxious feels like—sweaty palms, excessive worry, sweating, and maybe slight chest pain. But do you know that anxiety disorder, depending on the type, has some other anxiety physical symptoms? In this guide, we’ll be exploring anxiety symptoms, what it feels like, the types of anxiety, and how to relieve these symptoms. So, if you are ready to learn about these, let’s get to it.

What are Anxiety Symptoms: Physical?

Anxiety disorders affect around 40 million people in the U.S., and though they can be severe or mild, they always cause significant discomfort in the person’s daily life. Some familiar feelings include digestive issues, inability to sleep, tensed muscles, nervousness, inability to stay calm, sweating palms, etc. For a few people, the body signs can go as far as causing the heartbeat rate to increase rapidly or the legs to be shaky. Others will grow into a sick stomach with nausea or vomiting. However, these physical signs of anxiety vary from person to person. Another aspect that influences the symptoms you may encounter is your type of anxiety illness.

The types of anxiety include:

  1. Phobia anxiety; which is triggered by a person’s phobia
  2. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  3. Social anxiety (related to how you feel around other people).
  4. Separation anxiety, which is caused by the feeling of loneliness or abandonment..
  5. Panic disorders, and
  6. Obessive-compulsive disorder.

The type of anxiety you have and what it is linked to will determine your symptoms. While stress birthed from phobia might seem aggressive, the one from social or separation anxiety might not be as expressive.

Can anxiety cause physical symptoms?

Everyone knows people feel something when they are stressed. But there’s still that question: Is it that you’ll feel a physical symptom before anxiety takes over, or can anxiety cause physical symptoms? The answer is both. Before fear sets in, your body will experience a few (mild) sensations that may alert you to the risk of an anxiety attack. These indications, on the other hand, are rapid and sharp. For example, you may experience a headache shortly before having a panic attack, or you may experience heartburn before experiencing symptoms of separation anxiety. But, at the same time, stress has bodily symptoms.

What Does Anxiety Feel Like Physically?

Anxiety shows itself in different ways depending on the type of anxiety you have. Nonetheless, most anxiety disorders show itself in similar ways. Here are the general and likely physical anxiety symptoms:

  1. Headache
  2. Stomach pain
  3. Nausea and other digestive issues
  4. Shaking or trembling
  5. Tingling in your lips or your fingers
  6. Pain or tension in the muscles
  7. Uncontrolled sweating
  8. Feeling faint, lightheaded, or dizzy
  9. Increase in heart rate
  10. Rapid breathing (or shortness of breath)
  11. Fatigue and weakness
  12. Inability to sleep, frequently waking up, or other sleep disorders.

Physical Signs Of Anxiety

The above already explains the physiological symptoms of anxiety in general. But remember that the types can cause the symptoms to vary slightly. Here are the signs you could look out for, depending on the kind of anxiety you’re experiencing.

Generalized anxiety disorder

This general anxiety disorder happens to most people before they clock age 21. Also known as GAD, it is caused by excessive worry over life situations or everyday problems. Usually, the symptoms of GAD typically last for six months and do not pose any threat.

Some of the symptoms of GAD (other than the ones mentioned earlier) include restlessness, trouble concentrating, and irritability.

Phobia anxiety

There are over 500 named phobias, and every person has at least one. Most people might not even know they have a phobia until they have been exposed ti such situations. Much stronger than ordinary fear, Phobias is an intense fear of something or a condition such that you are willing to do anything possible to escape that situation.

Some physical anxiety symptoms of phobia anxiety are lightheadedness, the feeling like you’re choking, high-speed heart rate, cold or hot flushes, chest pain, and sweating.

Social anxiety

Social anxiety has more emotional symptoms than physical symptoms. But it doesn’t mean you don’t have the physicals, either. People who have social anxiety are usually mistaken for shy people. If you are nervous, you might hesitate to show yourself at the start of a conversation, but when you get used to the environment, you’ll seem balanced. A socially anxious person is stressed about the event all the time.

The symptoms of social anxiety include a shaky voice, sweating palms, palpitations, trembling, or excessive blushing.

Separation anxiety

Like social anxiety, there are more emotional and mental symptoms than body anxiety symptoms. Separation anxiety happens when you worry too much about being left behind or alone. It could be as mild as not wanting to be the last person on the bus or being concerned about the death of a loved one.

Aside from excessive worry and clinginess, some of the symptoms of this anxiety include crying, headaches, showing violence or throwing tantrums when left alone, and vomiting.

Panic Disorders

Panic disorders are significantly related to phobia and anxiety. However, there’s still a difference. Phobia anxiety results out of a phobia, while panic disorders result when there is a sense of impending danger. Panic disorders are usually harmless, but if they become too frequent, it is best to consult a professional healthcare provider for help and tips on managing and relieving the disorder.

The symptoms of panic disorders include numbness or tingling of the fingers or hands, weakness, difficulty breathing, trembling, chills, sweating, racing heartbeat,  and chest pain.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Commonly known as OCD, it is the fear of getting contaminated by dirt or germs. Most people with OCD also try to protect their loved ones by helping them stay orderly or clean. If you have OCD, you probably worry about touching things many others have touched. You prefer not to eat out and sit in the same chair most people have sat in, and you certainly can’t do too many things without washing your hands. For those with OCD, there might not be any anxiety physical pain, but there are symptoms you can note. Some of them include excessive hand washing and cleaning, excessive checking, talking to self, excessive blinking, hyperawareness, too focused on things like tapping, breathing, and other noises, and so on.

Now that you know the answer, What does anxiety feel like physically? Let’s talk about how you can relieve the symptoms.

How To Relieve Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety?

The kind of treatment you get for anxiety depends on the type you’re dealing with and how serious it is. The two primary ways to treat anxiety are to get medications or therapy. While most people prefer to evade medicines because of the likelihood of addiction, signing up for treatment with a trusted counsellor is best.

However, that is simply the treatment for anxiety disorder. If you want relief from the physical symptoms, try some simple at-home methods. That said, here are some tips on how to relieve physical symptoms of anxiety.

  • Stay active: It has been proven that exercise helps to reduce stress and anxiety. By staying active or getting your heartbeat going, you can help to keep the physical symptoms at bay. Some ideas include jogging, walking, swimming, going to the gym, etc. If you cannot stay active (for whatever reason), remain outside at least once daily.
  • Practice relaxation: One of the common symptoms of anxiety is rapid breathing and increased heart rate. Therefore, practise how to stay calm even before you have an anxiety attack. One of the things you can try is breathing techniques (you can pair this with counting). You can also take more time to meditate or practice yoga
  • Sleep well: One of the symptoms of anxiety is not being able to sleep well, but you have to make sure you sleep. So, try to surround yourself with materials that’ll make you sleep. If you wish to use medications, consult a medical professional before doing so.
  • Eat healthily: Another thing that can help relieve stress or anxiety is keeping your energy levels stable. Therefore, eat when needed and choose healthier meals.
  • Talk about your feelings: Don’t keep your feelings to yourself. Talk about it to your trusted friends, family members, or a health professional.


Before you try everything in this guide, note that alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, and cigarettes are all things you should avoid. Also, don’t expect everything to disappear overnight. It will take time, but as long as you spend your energy making yourself feel better, everything will be alright. Finally, understand that it is normal to feel isolated. But remember that 40 million people worldwide suffer from anxiety, and you’re one of the few fighting to overcome it.