Your question: Why does anxiety make my body feel weird?

My reply:

Hi, I hope this message finds you well. My name is Cesar Guedez, a psychologist trained in cognitive behavioral therapy. Anxiety is an unpleasant experience, as it not only generates negative thoughts and emotions, but also creates unpleasant physical reactions.I don’t know exactly what you mean by “weird”, but I understand that the physical sensations of anxiety such as sweating, tachycardia, stomach pain, headache and numbness, are pretty uncomfortable.

The physical symptoms of anxiety are called “somatization”, physical symptoms that do not have a “medical” origin and are associated with emotions and thoughts. Therefore, to decrease these physical symptoms, you must work on the psychological ones first, and that is where you need to focus on addressing anxiety and its origin (1).

What can you do?

One strategy you can implement is to record in a diary what are the strange sensations you feel in your body when you experience episodes of anxiety, as well as write down what situation caused the anxiety episode. In this way we will be able to identify the external origin. It could be work, school or relationships. Once you identify the situations that generate anxiety and specify exactly what are those “weird” feelings you experience, we will have a better guide to work with and a clear focus to know in which areas to improve (2).

Learning how to relax

For the physical symptoms of anxiety you can also try relaxation and breathing techniques. Jacobson’s relaxation technique may be useful for you, as it works with the whole body and focuses on decreasing the unpleasant sensations associated with anxiety and panic attacks. This technique is done lying down, in a quiet environment and with your eyes closed. It consists in that from your feet to your head, you focus your attention on a part of your body, making slow movements, tensing and releasing the tension. For example in your feet, you make slow circular movements, tense them and then release the tension. Then you do the same with your legs, and so on until you reach your head. It will take as long as you feel necessary, but it lasts approximately 10 to 20 minutes. It is a slow but effective exercise, that with time you will learn to control it perfectly and you will notice an improvement in the control of anxiety (3).


In addition to this, exercise helps, even if it is only for short periods of the day. It doesn’t have to be in a gym and you can adjust it to your time and space needs. It can be anything from walking and jogging to playing a sport. Exercise helps because it gives us more control over our body, which is key to working on the physical symptoms of anxiety. You won’t notice it right away, you have to be consistent and patient, but with practice you will notice how physical activity positively impacts our mental health (4).

In my experience…

Although anxiety causes annoying physical symptoms, they are harmless and cannot cause real damage to your integrity. However, I understand that they are quite annoying. Through these strategies, your physical symptoms of anxiety can decrease, and if you accompany it with psychological consultation, you will notice a significant improvement in your overall quality of life.

I believe you have the ability to improve and heal these feelings of discomfort you are experiencing now. The fact that you are seeking professional help through this message proves it to me, and I applaud you for making that decision and being on track to improve your mental health and overall, your physical health.

Apply the techniques at your own pace and I am confident that you will gradually improve. It was a pleasure to write to you.

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