How To Stop Shaking When You Feel Nervous

Updated December 27, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Christy B.

Content Warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention topics that include prescription medication, abuse of medication, and addiction. The information found in the article is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have.

It can feel alarming or scary when you can't stop your body from shaking. As humans, we all feel nervous at times. When you're feeling nervous, you shouldn't have to worry about your body shaking, too! There are many reasons why your body can't stop moving, and we're going to go over them in this article. Most importantly, we'll also cover tools you can use that will help you stop shaking during these moments. This can help you make sure you're no longer shivering.

Why Am I Feeling This Way?

Shaking, or body tremors, are a symptom caused by your nervous system. When you start feeling anxious, your body releases stress hormones that send energy to your cells because your fight or flight response sympathetic nervous system response has been activated. When you don't use that pent-up energy, it causes the shaking associated with nervousness. Learning to stop shaking when you feel nervous can start with using calming techniques and stress reduction strategies. We will cover these in more detail later.

There are two types of tremors: resting tremors or what happens when you relax your muscles. Then, there are action tremors, where you experience tremors from a movement of your own accord.

The physical symptoms of anxiety can feel intense. But they are treatable.

Uncontrollable Shaking: I Want It to Stop

Naturally, when you're shaking, you want that feeling gone. It's an uncomfortable feeling, and you want relief from it. This can be especially true if you struggle with anxiety or panic attacks that seem to take over your entire body. Unfortunately, there is no instant cure for uncontrollable shaking. However, some grounding techniques used during an anxiety attack will calm your body down and help reduce the shaking. A good first step might be mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a technique where you ground yourself using a variety of exercises. Anxiety and panic can make you feel like you are floating outside of your body or out of control of how it's reacting. Mindfulness will place you back inside your physical self. Start by noticing your breath. Take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. We can't control many things when feeling anxious, but we can control our breath. When you direct your attention toward your breath, you may start feeling your body calm down, and your body can pause and stop moving involuntarily. You might also find solace after seeking the Help of a licensed mental health professional who specializes in anxiety. You can work with a therapist in your local area or meet with an online therapist.

Anxiety: body shaking uncontrollably

Anxiety Can Cause You to Shake Uncontrollably. There Are Ways to Help This

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How to Stop Shaking from Temporary Situations

Almost everyone gets the shakes occasionally. When dealing with a new situation or going through a stressful circumstance, it's natural to be nervous and start shaking. For example, for someone who gets nervous speaking in front of groups of people, presenting at a meeting can cause them to shake involuntarily. This kind of temporary shaking can be alleviated with relaxation techniques.

1. Practice Deep Breathing

Taking slow, calm breaths helps your body return to a calmer state. When you are worried or scared and start shaking, your body begins to release adrenaline. This is a defensive biological response that can feel overwhelming. Slowing your breathing can help stop that flood of stress hormones and reduce the shaking. After you breathe in slowly through your nose, hold the breath for a few seconds before releasing it.

2. Do 1-Minute Meditation

You may think that Meditation requires too much time. But actually, any length of Meditation can help you relax and destress. Performing a 1-minute meditation that focuses on your breathing can help you turn your attention away from the cause of your anxiety, making the shakes go away. There are many resources online for short meditations, along with applications you can download to your phone that will guide you through it. Though a short meditation may not feel as though it will help at the moment, taking a second to breathe and reconnect with your body can be incredibly beneficial.

3. Go for a Walk

Releasing the adrenaline your body has built up can also help reduce your nerve symptoms. Any exercise will help, and walking can be an easy activity done almost anywhere. Walking outside offers even more benefits. By surrounding yourself with fresh air and nature, you may find yourself able to feel more at peace with yourself and the world around you.

body shaking uncontrollably

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4. Exercise

Physical activity can be a great way to decrease symptoms of anxiety. Not only does exercise release endorphins, but you can use physical activity as an outlet for all that pent-up energy. This is especially true if there's a certain kind of exercise that you truly enjoy doing. Maybe you want to go for a hike, or go roller-skating. Even a short jog around a track can be beneficial for combatting anxiety. Though it can be challenging to push yourself to get some exercise when you're feeling anxious, a little bit can go a long way.

What to Do With Chronic Shaking

If you find yourself shaking often or even every day, this may be a sign of an anxiety disorder. In this case, there are stress-reduction habits you can incorporate into your routine. These suggestions are just a handful of examples of things you can do to help you manage your chronic anxiety.

1. Yoga

Yoga combines some of the best benefits of Meditation and exercise. Because many of the moves also stretch your muscles, yoga can relieve tension and excess adrenaline too. Practicing yoga regularly can help you manage your nerves. Though some people are nervous to start practicing any new exercise, yoga focuses on adapting moves to work for you. There are also many online yoga classes of different lengths that are completely free of charge available to you.

2. Massage

Massage can be another way of keeping down the levels of stress hormones. Getting a professional massage whenever possible can be a part of other stress-reduction strategies you use. Or you can ask a friend or partner for a massage instead of paying for massages. Even just a shoulder or foot rub can help. You can also try to give yourself a massage and use it to take a minute to reconnect to your body, stretch, and relax.

3. Sleep

We often forget the many benefits sleep has on all aspects of our health. Problems with shaking can get worse if you're not getting enough sleep. And you may find that logging those needed 7 or 8 hours each night will dramatically reduce your issues with both anxiety and shaking.

If you have a hard time falling asleep or getting enough sleep every night, there are different ways you can work to improve that. By reducing time on your phone and social media before bed, writing out your thoughts in a notebook before you fall asleep, and being patient with yourself, you can start getting your well-deserved beauty sleep. For more tips on how to sleep better at night, click here.

Anxiety Can Cause You to Shake Uncontrollably. There Are Ways to Help This

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4. Seek Help

The counselors at BetterHelp are experienced in treating people with anxiety. Whether you have panic attacks, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, PTSD, or another anxiety-related condition, the counselors here understand what anxiety can feel like. They will give you the coping skills needed for your anxiety and help you learn calming tools for when your body starts to shake. You don't have to go through this alone; you have the support of an online counselor who cares about you and will help you manage these physical symptoms. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors.

Counselor Reviews

"I have been working with Latisse for several months and could not be more pleased. She is flexible with her schedule, and our weekly sessions have made a huge difference with my anxiety and depression. I would recommend her to anyone that needs counseling."

"I can not recommend Dawn McClain enough. I was struggling to break out of constant panic/anxiety attacks. After our first session, I walked away with new approaches and mindsets to implement new thinking and behavior patterns. I had convinced myself that I'd be living in negativity forever and had hit a scary new mental low. To say Dawn changed my life is an understatement. Not only did she change my life, she likely helped save it. I am forever grateful to her and cannot wait to continue my journey toward a more healthy state of being with caring and thought-provoking guidance. Just know you're never alone, and there are people like Dawn just waiting to help."



Rule out Anything Medical

While shaking can be a symptom of anxiety, excessive and uncontrollable shaking is sometimes due to a medical condition. First, see your primary care physician rule out anything medical. It's important to understand if the shaking symptoms are psychological, physiological, or both. Talk openly with your physician, and always follow the treatment plans you've developed together.

All of the tips listed here are safe to try for most people when shaking is caused by temporary nerves or an anxiety disorder. If you don't feel like you have anxiety, you may want to talk to a doctor to find another possible cause for your shaking that requires specific treatment. Otherwise, talking to a mental health professional can help you manage your anxiety and stop shaking in the long term.

Types of Tremors

Here are some other types of tremors you may face:

Social Anxiety

Social anxiety, a common anxiety disorder, also causes tremors. Essentially, social anxiety can be the fear of being in a social situation. Social anxiety can be a spectrum, with some people afraid of large social gatherings, while others have anxiety symptoms no matter how small the crowd is.

Social anxiety can cause:

  • Shortness of breath when you're faced with a social situation.
  • You may experience panic attacks. Your hands shake, your nervous system is on high alert, and your anxiety symptoms worsen with a big social anxiety situation.
  • You start using alcohol or other substances as a means to loosen up and cope with your anxiety. Overindulging in alcohol, however, will make the problem worse over time.
  • Intrusive, negative thought patterns that feel difficult to subside.
  • I find it challenging to be present and enjoy time with the people around you.
  • Your body could feel stiff. For example, you might have a stiff neck that doesn't seem to disappear.

There are many treatment options for social anxiety and any other anxiety disorder. Here are a few of them if you experience social anxiety.

  • Get more rest. Sleeping well in a good sleep environment can reduce your anxiety. Social anxiety symptoms can be elevated when your body and mind are tired.
  • Try Meditation. Breathing mindfully can reduce or eliminate your social anxiety responsible for the tremor or other symptoms in your body. Many people with social anxiety see their anxiety go down with mindfulness and Meditation.
  • Social anxiety can be treated via gradual exposure therapy. Essentially, you're gradually exposed to more challenging social anxiety triggers. This can help build up social anxiety resistance.
  • Certain social situations can cause a person to feel more anxious than others. Finding spaces where you feel less anxious can help you feel more comfortable in social situations.
  • Support groups and confiding in others that also experience social anxiety can help people feel less alone in their disorder. Social anxiety is challenging, but it doesn't have to be isolating.
  • Seek Help. Research shows that speaking with a licensed therapist can be a powerful tool in reducing anxiety symptoms like shaking.

Stroke

If you or a loved one has experienced a stroke, you might see problems with shaking hands, hand tremors, and other trembling issues. Strokes are one of the many neurological conditions that can benefit from a combination of physical and mental health therapy. It can be difficult for people to experience lingering symptoms of their stroke. Seek medical support and find out your options or any institute of neurological disorders. By working through this traumatic event, you may find that you can better manage the uncontrollable shaking.

Too Much Caffeine

Another reason why you might be experiencing shaking hands, hand tremors, or any other body trembling could be because of too much caffeine. A cup of coffee in the morning and an occasional energy drink aren't necessarily damaging. However, if you're often ingesting a lot of caffeine, this can cause several physical responses. These can include noticeable shaking, increased heart rate, blood pressure spikes, and other conditions. And when you live with anxiety, this might make the problem a lot worse.

If you are always lacking energy, even if you get to sleep, there are many reasons for this response and a range of treatments that can help. If you still don't know why you're tired, talk with your doctor. They can provide medical advice, diagnosis treatments, and help you find a support team of other tired folks.

Postanesthetic Shivering

If you had surgery for any medical condition or medical emergency, they might have used general anesthesia. This may lead to postanesthetic shivering, a common side effect of shaking hands, hand tremors, and other issues. Usually, it's common and will go away as you recover, but talk to any doctor at your national institutes of health if you have a concern.

Drug Withdrawal

Addiction is a disease that affects both the mind and body. If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol and withdraw from them, one risk factor can be a tremor in the hands or tremors in general.

There are many underlying health issues with withdrawal, and you might need a lot of prep work if you want to quit successfully. It's important to speak to a specialist before beginning a withdrawal, as it can be dangerous to do unsupervised.

Hyperthyroidism

Hypothyroidism, or an overactive thyroid, can be another condition that can cause trembling. An overactive thyroid produces too much of the thyroid hormone thyroxine. Too much of this thyroid hormone can give you various problems, such as:

  • Extreme weight loss, making weight management more difficult. Even by eating more food in your diet, weight management will still be difficult.
  •  
  • Heart palpitations.
  •  

Seek out the advice of a medical professional if you feel that you may have an overactive thyroid. With proper treatment, it's possible to greatly reduce these uncomfortable physical responses.

Brain Tumor

A brain tumor may cause shaking hands, hand tremors, and other types of tremors, too. A brain tumor will often come with other symptoms, such as seizures, unexplained vomiting, and abnormal headaches. Though it's easy to go to the worst-case scenario when struggling with uncomfortable symptoms, brain tumors are extremely rare.

How Online Therapy Can Help With Shaking

If you're dealing with shaking in your hands, hand tremors, or you're shaking for any other reason, even as a natural response to an event, online therapy may be able to help you. A licensed therapist can give you coping tools, talk you through your feelings about the shaking, and guide you on the best steps forward.

During a therapy session for your tremors, here are some things you can expect out of it.

  • Write down the symptoms of your tremors. This tremor fact sheet can give a therapist more insight into why it's happening and any patterns evident.
  • Taking time for self-reflection will help identify possible circumstances that prompt the tremors.
  • Looking for treatment options for your tremors. If it's a nervous system problem, treatment options differ from those of non-nervous system problems, such as anxiety.
  • Taking into account environmental issues.
  • If your tremors are caused by anxiety or panic disorders, taking a closer look at your symptoms can be helpful.
  • If your anxiety disorders are due to situational issues, your therapist can help you adapt to circumstances that make you feel uncomfortable. Teaching proper relaxation and speaking techniques may help someone work through negative thought patterns at the moment.
  • After any traumatic event, it's normal to have residual symptoms. Though they may feel unrelated to what you've gone through, taking the time to work through the trauma safely can help you move forward.

All About Chills and Tremors

Chills may lead to tremors, but you may not know what the word chills refers to. Chills are when your body muscles squeeze to make heat, leaving you cold.

Sometimes, you may experience abdominal pain and chills. Abdominal pain and chills may be due to the following conditions, both bacterial infections and viral.

  • Urinary tract infections: bacterial infection of the urinary tract. This bacterial infection is luckily treatable.
  • Low blood sugar levels may cause chills. If you have a condition such as diabetes, you must monitor your blood sugar levels whenever possible.
  • Alcohol withdrawal may cause chills. With alcohol withdrawal, you must make sure you're tapering off slowly and check with a doctor if you have any alcohol withdrawal problems. Your doctor can help you with any symptoms, such as looking at the alcohol withdrawal shivering causes, treatment options, and more.

Stress

Too much stress can cause your body to shake uncontrollably. Left untreated, stress can cause a variety of mental and physical symptoms. Stress can make you feel overwhelmed, stimulated, and anxious. Do your best to reduce stress from your life as much as possible, and make self-care a priority. Even taking 15 minutes out of your day to do something relaxing can help offset certain symptoms of stress.

Conclusion

No one wants to shake when they feel nervous. A licensed therapist from BetterHelp can help you figure out the underlying cause behind your shaking so that you can address that cause directly. They can also give you coping tools to help you manage any shaking that happens at the moment.

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