Feel Cold, Chilly, Chills All The Time – anxiety symptoms

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

feeling cold chilled chilly anxiety symptoms

Feel cold, chilly, chills, chilled, and cold all the time can be symptoms of anxiety disorder, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and others.

This article explains the relationship between anxiety and feeling cold and chilled.

Feel cold, chilly, chills, chilled, feeling cold all the time, shivery common anxiety symptoms descriptions:

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

Other descriptions include feeling cold and 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.

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

Feel cold, chills, chilled, chilliness symptoms 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.

Feel cold, chills, chilled, chilliness symptoms can also precede, accompany, or follow an ‘episode’ of anxiety or stress and is also often described as feeling chilly and tired.

Similar to other anxiety-caused sensations and symptoms, this feel cold, chills, chilled, chilliness feeling 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, or be the cause of being woken up.

All of the above combinations and variations are common.

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, Anxiety Disorder Test, or Hyperstimulation Test.

The higher the rating, the more likely it could be contributing to your anxiety symptoms, including feeling cold or chilled.

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What causes the feel cold, chilled, chills, chilly, and shivery anxiety symptoms?

Medical Advisory

An active stress response

Being anxious causes the body to produce the stress response. The stress response secretes stress hormones into the bloodstream where they travel to targeted spots 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 this response is often referred to as the fight or flight response.[1][2]

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

Chronic stress

When stress responses occur infrequently, the body can recover relatively quickly from the physiological, psychological, and emotional changes the stress response brings about. When stress responses occur too frequently, however, the body has a more difficult time recovering.

Interrupted recovery can cause the body to remain in a state of semi stress response readiness, which we call “stress-response hyperstimulation” since stress hormones are stimulants (also often referred to as "hyperarousal" and the effects of chronic stress).[3][4]

Hyperstimulation can cause similar changes to an active stress response even though a stress response hasn’t been activated. Feeling cold, chilled, chilly, and shivery is an example of how hyperstimulation can affect the body.

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How to eliminate the feel cold, chilled, chills, chilly, and shivery symptoms?

When this feel cold, chilly anxiety symptom is caused by apprehensive behavior and the accompanying emergency response changes, calming yourself down will bring an end to the 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 feel cold symptom should subside. Keep in mind that it can take up to 20 minutes or more for the body to recover from a major response. But this is normal and shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

When this feel cold, chilly symptom is caused by hyperstimulation, it can take a lot longer for the body to recover and to the point where this symptom is eliminated.

Nevertheless, when the body has recovered from the active stress response or hyperstimulation, this feel cold, chilly, chilled anxiety symptom subsides. 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 all anxiety symptoms, 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 – 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.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including feeling cold, chilled, chilly anxiety 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.” anxietycentre.com, 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.