Anxiety Chest Tremors

Written by Jim Folk
Medically reviewed by Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated May 19, 2021

anxiety chest tremors

Anxiety chest tremors, including chest area, ribcage, diaphragm, and heart area trembling, shaking, and vibrating are often symptoms of anxiety disorder, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and others.

To see if anxiety might be playing a role in your anxiety symptoms, rate your level of anxiety using our free one-minute instant results Anxiety Test or Anxiety Disorder Test. The higher the rating, the more likely it could be contributing to your anxiety symptoms, including chest tremor symptoms.

This article explains the relationship between anxiety and chest tremors.

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Chest tremors anxiety symptoms description:

Anxiety chest tremors can feel like your chest area, ribcage, diaphragm, and heart area is trembling, shaking, vibrating, or has tremors.

Anxiety chest tremors can affect just one area of the chest, many areas in the chest, or can migrate from one location to another, or affect the entire chest.

Anxiety chest tremors might be visible or not visible.

Anxiety chest tremors can occur on the exterior of the body or feel like it is occurring on the inside, or both.

Anxiety chest tremors can come and go rarely, occur frequently, or persist indefinitely. For example, you may feel a chest tremor feeling once in a while and not that often, feel it off and on, or feel it all the time.

Anxiety chest tremors can precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety sensations and symptoms, or occur by itself.

Anxiety chest tremors 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.

Anxiety chest tremors can range in intensity from slight, to moderate, to severe. It can also come in waves where it’s strong one moment and eases off the next.

Anxiety chest tremors can change from day to day and from moment to moment.

All of the above combinations and variations are common.

Anxiety chest tremors can seem more disconcerting when undistracted or when trying to rest or go to sleep.

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What causes the anxiety chest tremors feeling?

Anxiety chest tremors feelings are common symptoms associated with the stress response, and symptoms of chronic stress, including the chronic stress caused by overly apprehensive behavior. Some people say that they have a "case of the nerves" because they are shaking so much.

Just as too much caffeine can cause jitteriness and trembling because caffeine is a stimulant, so can stress and stress-response hyperstimulation (when the body becomes chronically stressed and stimulated), since stress hormones are stimulants.

The stress response causes stress hormones to enter the bloodstream where they travel to specific locations in the body to bring about distinct biological, psychological, and emotional changes that prepare the body for immediate action: to fight with or flee from an impending threat.[1][2]

Since stress hormones are stimulants, they have a dramatic affect on the body’s nervous system, which controls the body’s muscles, including those in the chest, ribcage, and diaphragm. When the nervous system becomes overly stimulated, it can have an adverse effect on the body’s muscles, such as causing them to tremor, tremble, shake, and vibrate.[3][4] As stress response stimulation increases, so can shaking, vibrating, and trembling, including in the chest, ribcage, and diaphragm areas.

How to stop anxiety chest tremor feelings symptoms?

When anxiety chest tremors feelings are 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 calms down from the active stress response, this chest tremors feeling should subside and you should return to your normal self.

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 anxiety chest tremors feelings symptoms are caused by chronic stress (hyperstimulation), it can take a lot longer for the body to recover and to the point where anxiety chest tremors symptoms subside.

Nevertheless, when the body has recovered, these anxiety chest tremors feelings completely disappear. Therefore, they 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 your anxiety chest tremors feelings. Sure, they can be unsettling and even bothersome. But again, when your body has recovered from the stress response or chronic stress, this symptom will completely disappear.

If you are having difficulty with anxiety, its symptoms, and troublesome worry, you might want to connect with one of our recommended anxiety disorder therapists. Working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to overcome problematic anxiety.

All of our recommended therapists have experienced anxiety disorder, have successfully overcome it, and are medication-free. Their years of personal and professional experience make them an excellent choice to work with on your road to recovery.

Visit our "Why Therapy" and "What Makes Our Therapists Unique" articles for more information.

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 – which we call 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.

Additional Resources

Return to our anxiety disorders signs and symptoms page. Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including the anxiety chest tremors feelings symptoms.


1. Selye, H. (1956). The stress of life. New York, NY, US: McGraw-Hill.

2. Folk, Jim and Folk, Marilyn. “The Stress Response And Anxiety Symptoms.”, August 2019.

3. Hannibal, Kara E., and Mark D. Bishop. “Chronic Stress, Cortisol Dysfunction, and Pain: A Psychoneuroendocrine Rationale for Stress Management in Pain Rehabilitation.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2014.

4. Justice, Nicholas J., et al. “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder-Like Induction Elevates β-Amyloid Levels, Which Directly Activates Corticotropin-Releasing Factor Neurons to Exacerbate Stress Responses.” Journal of Neuroscience, Society for Neuroscience, 11 Feb. 2015.