All of us at anxietycentre.com have experienced debilitating anxiety. But we’ve also overcome it and returned to normal and lasting health. Because we know the hardship anxiety unwellness can cause, we are committed to helping others, with over 27 years of service.” - Jim Folk, President, anxietycentre.com

Trembling Shaking Anxiety Symptoms

Trembling Shaking Feelings Anxiety Symptoms description:

It feels like your arms, hands, fingers, feet, toes, legs, stomach, sides, chest, back, head, buttocks, groin, or even your entire body may feel like it is trembling and shaking.

This trembling, shaking or vibrating feeling might affect just one part of your body, many parts of your body, might migrate from one location to another, or affect the entire body.

This trembling, shaking or vibrating feeling might be visible or not.

This trembling, shaking or vibrating feeling might affect just the outside of the body, just the inside of the body, or both. This trembling shaking feeling can also switch back and forth randomly and without reason.

These anxiety shaking trembling feelings might occur rarely, intermittently, or persistently.

While some people may be able to control their shaking, trembling, and vibrating feelings by calming themselves down or by tightening and loosening their muscles, most often these trembling feelings occur involuntarily, meaning there isn’t much we can do to stop these feelings from occurring.

Some people experience trembling shaking feelings only when moving certain muscles, while others experience shaking all the time regardless of muscle movement.  

It’s common for these trembling shaking feelings to be more noticeable when trying to rest, relax, go to sleep, when waking up from sleep, or when undistracted. 

It’s also common for these trembling shaking feelings to occur intermittently and for no apparent reason. For example, you may be resting when all of a sudden, and for no apparent reason, a part of your body, parts of your body, or your entire body begins to tremble and shake. Then for no apparent reason, moments later, these trembling shaking feelings disappear, only to return again later, even though you haven’t changed position or done anything to alleviate or aggravate these shaking and trembling feelings.

These trembling shaking anxiety feelings may precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety sensations and symptoms, or occur by itself.

These trembling shaking anxiety feelings can precede, accompany, or follow an episode of nervousness, anxiety, fear, and elevated stress, or occur ‘out of the blue’ and for no apparent reason.

These trembling shaking anxiety feelings can range in intensity from mild, to moderate, to severe. They can also come in waves, where you are trembling and shaking strong one moment and not the next.

These trembling shaking anxiety feelings can change from day to day, and/or from moment to moment.

All of the above variations and combinations are common.

Some people describe this anxiety symptom as:

What causes these trembling shaking anxiety feelings?

Trembling and shaking anxiety feelings are common sensations associated with the stress response, and symptoms of persistently elevated stress, including the persistently elevated stress caused by being overly anxious. Some people say that they have a ‘case of the nerves’ because they are trembling and shaking so much.

Just as too much caffeine can cause jitteriness, trembling, and shaking because caffeine is a stimulant, so can stress and stress-response hyperstimulation, since stress hormones are stimulants.

The stress response causes stress hormones to enter the bloodstream where they travel to ‘target’ locations in the body to bring about specific biological, psychological, and emotional changes that prepare the body for immediate action: to fight with or flee from an impending threat.

Since stress hormones are stimulants, they have a dramatic affect on the body’s nervous system, which controls the body’s muscles. When the nervous system becomes stimulated it can have an adverse effect on the body’s muscles, such as causing them to tremor, tremble, shake, and vibrate. As stress response stimulation increases, so can shaking, vibrating, and trembling.

So, the cause of trembling and shaking anxiety feelings are an active stress response, such as when being nervous or afraid, or a body that’s become overly stressed due to anxiety or some other stressful situation or circumstance.

How to stop trembling and shaking anxiety feelings symptoms?

When these trembling and shaking anxiety feelings are caused by behaving apprehensively, such as worrying, containing your worry and calming yourself down will bring an end to the active stress response and its changes. As your body recovers from the active stress response, these trembling and shaking feelings should subside as your body calms down. Keep in mind that it can take up to 20 minutes or more for the body to calm down from a major stress response. But this is normal and shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

When these trembling and shaking anxiety feelings are caused by persistently elevated stress, it may take a lot more time for the body to recover and to the point where this trembling and shaking anxiety symptom feeling subsides.

Nevertheless, when the body has fully recovered from being overly stressed, these trembling shaking anxiety feelings will completely disappear. Therefore, these trembling shaking feelings 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 feeling. Sure, these feelings can be unsettling and even annoying. But 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 anxiety symptoms including having trembling shaking anxiety feelings, why symptoms can persist long after the stress response has ended, common barriers to recovery and symptom elimination, and more recovery strategies and tips, we have many chapters that address this information in the Recovery Support area of our website.

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - we call these core causes the underlying factors of anxiety - a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.


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Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated March 30, 2017.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and coaching/therapy for problematic anxiety and its symptoms, including the trembling shaking anxiety feelings symptom.