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Feeling chilly, chills, chilled, cold anxiety stress symptom

Feeling chilly, chills, cold, shivery:

You may suddenly feel cold, chilly, or chilled. You may have an area on or in your body that feels unusually cold, chilly, chilled, or shivery.

Other descriptions include feeling chilly all the time, feeling chilly and tired, feeling chills all the time, feeling chills but no fever, feeling chilly and cold, feeling cold anxiety, feeling cold and tired all the time, and feeling cold and shivery.

This feeling might feel like you are in a cold draft or like you have a chill that you can’t seem to get rid of no matter what you do, such as even with blankets, extra clothing, or with the heat turned up.

The chilly, chilled, or cold spot may originate at one small location on or in the body, may involve the entire body, or any variation thereof.

This anxiety symptom can come and go sporadically, occur frequently, or persist indefinitely. For example, you may feel cold, chilly, or chilled once and a while and not that often, or feel chills, chilly, and cold all the time.

This symptom may precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other sensations and symptoms, and may precede, accompany, or follow an episode of increased stress, fear, worry, high anxiety, and even panic.

This symptom can also precede, accompany, or follow an ‘episode’ of elevated anxiety and/or stress and is also often described as feeling chilly and tired.

Similar to other anxiety-caused sensations and symptoms, this symptom can occur in conjunction with an episode of high anxiety, can occur ‘out of the blue” and for no apparent reason, can occur immediately upon waking up, and/or be the cause of being woken up.

All of the above combinations and variations are common.

What causes the ‘feeling chilled, chills, chilly, cold, and shivery’ symptom?

Behaving in an apprehensive manner (worried, fretful, fearful) causes the body to produce the stress response. The stress response secretes stress hormones into the bloodstream where they travel to targeted spots in the body to bring about specific physiological, psychological, and emotional changes that enhance the body’s ability to deal with a threat—to either fight with or flee from it—which is the reason the stress response is often referred to as the fight or flight response.

While the stress response changes are active, they can cause a wide range of sensations and symptoms, including feeling chilled, chilly, chills, cold, and shivery. As long as the stress response is active, these types of anxiety symptoms can persist.

Is the feeling chilly, chills, chilled, cold, and shivery symptom harmful?

No! It’s considered ‘normal’ for apprehensive behavior and the accompanying stress response changes it produces.

This symptom can also be caused by sustained stress, such as that from behaving in an overly apprehensive manner for an extended period of time. In this case, this symptom is still not harmful. It will disappear when your body has recovered from the negative effects of sustained stress.

How to eliminate the ‘feeling chilled, chills, chilly, cold, and shivery’ symptom?

When this anxiety symptom is caused by apprehensive behavior and the accompanying stress response changes, calming yourself down will bring an end to the stress response and its changes. As your body recovers from the active stress response – yes, there is a recovery period after the stress response changes have ended – this symptom should subside. Keep in mind that it can take up to 20 minutes or more for the body to recover from a major stress response. But this is normal and shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

When this symptom is caused by sustained stress, it may take a lot more time for the body to recover and to the point where this symptom is eliminated.

Nevertheless, when the body has fully recovered, this symptom will completely subside. Therefore, this symptom needn’t be a cause for concern.

You can speed up the recovery process by reducing your stress, practicing relaxed breathing, increasing your rest and relaxation, and not worrying about this symptom. Again, when your body has recovered from the stress response and/or sustained stress, this symptom will completely disappear.

For a more detailed explanation about the stress response, anxiety sensations and symptoms, why anxiety sensations and symptoms can persist, common barriers to recovery and symptom elimination, and more recovery strategies and tips, see Chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 18, 21, and 23 in the recovery support area (the member’s area) of our website.

You can learn more about our membership support area, membership options, and how to become a member by reading or clicking on the "Membership Benefits" graphic on the side bar to the right.

If you’d like personal assistance with your recovery, you can learn more about our Personal Coaching option here.

You can return to our listing of anxiety symptoms here.

Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated October 2014
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