Trembling Shaking – anxiety symptoms

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

trembling shaking anxiety symptoms

Trembling, shaking, and vibrating feelings are common symptoms of anxiety disorder, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and others.

This article explains the relationship between anxiety and trembling, shaking, and vibrating 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 can 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:

  • Nervous shaking
  • Nervous trembling
  • Anxiety trembling feelings
  • Anxiety shaking symptoms
  • Feelings of trembling anxiety

To see if anxiety might be playing a role in your 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 anxiety could be contributing to or causing your anxiety symptoms, including the trembling, shaking, tremors anxiety symptoms.

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What causes these trembling shaking anxiety feelings?

Medical Advisory

Trembling and shaking anxiety feelings are common sensations associated with the stress response,[1][2] and symptoms of chronic stress (which we call stress-response hyperstimulation since stress hormones are stimulants), including the chronic stress caused by overly apprehensive behavior. 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.[1][2]

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 becomes chronically stressed due to anxiety or some other stressful situation or circumstance.[3][4]

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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 hyperstimulation (chronic stress), it can take a lot longer for the body to recover and to the point where this trembling and shaking anxiety symptom feeling subsides.

Nevertheless, when the body has recovered from hyperstimulation, these trembling shaking anxiety feelings will subside. 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 or sustained stress, this symptom will completely disappear.

If you are having difficulty containing your worry, you might want to connect with one of our recommended anxiety disorder therapists. Working with an experienced therapist is the most effective way to overcome anxiety disorder and what seems like unmanageable worry and anxiety.

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 trembling shaking anxiety feelings symptom.


1. Berczi, Istvan. “Walter Cannon's ‘Fight or Flight Response’ - ‘Acute Stress Response.’” Walter Cannon's "Fight or Flight Response" - "Acute Stress Response", 2017.

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

3. Yaribeygi, Habib, et al. “The Impact of Stress on Body Function: A Review.” EXCLI Journal, Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors, 2017.

4. Teixeira, Renata Roland, et al. “Chronic Stress Induces a Hyporeactivity of the Autonomic Nervous System in Response to Acute Mental Stressor and Impairs Cognitive Performance in Business Executives.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2015.