Have you ever wondered why you feel so cold when you are nervous? Scary things like horror movies, job interviews, and first dates can give us the chills. Chills, or feeling cold, refers to the anxiety and fear we experience something scary, and the resulting sensation is chills produced from that fear.

Anxiety, nervousness, and fear are often connected with feeling cold, yet the exact mechanism of the interrelation between nervousness and cold sensation remains somewhat perplexing. What is it about being anxious that makes us feel cold, and why do some people experience a greater degree of coldness than others.

Chills as a Warning Sign

For some people experiencing chills is an early indicator or warning sign that anxiety is on the horizon. Feeling cold is uncomfortable for us, but it can provide us an insight into a dangerous situation. Chills are a common reaction to fear, anxiety, and nervousness.

Can anxiety make me overly sensitive to typical cold?

If you suffer from stress – especially anxiety attack – tend to be overly sensitive to all physical sensations, including cold. One of the side effects of anxiety is that you cannot help but focus on and notice sensations that you would typically ignore. So when you suffer from anxiety, your mind may understand it as something wrong, when in fact, you may be slightly chilly.

Someone calm and relaxed would likely shrug it off, but those under stress feel the cold rush over them and though their entire body if ready to shiver. This sensation can easily lead to further anxiety and a belief that cold is the result of something more.

Why do I shake like I am cold when I’m nervous?

During times of nervousness, your body prepares to enter into a fight or flight mode. Essentially, the body prepares to deal with danger. This is an instant and automatic response to face danger. Your body doesn’t distinguish between real or perceived threats.

Why does my body temperature drop when I am nervous?

When your body prepares for fight or flight mode, its internal temperature can drop. One of the ways the body accomplishes this is by lowering its internal temperature through goosebumps. Goosebumps occur when tiny muscles at the base of each hair, called arrector pili muscles, contract and pull the hair erect. The goosebump reflex is initiated by the sympathetic nervous system, which controls various fight or flight responses.

The lowering of body temperature happens to counteract the sharp increase in body temperature during the fight or flight mode. The resulting lowered body temperature can invariably trigger the sensation of cold or chills. After a while, the body adjusts to the cold, usually enabling the person to feel “normal” once again.

How much my body temperature drops when I am anxious?

Even though body temperature can fluctuate about 1 Fahrenheit in normal conditions, average body temperature is about 98.6 Fahrenheit (37 Celsius). The way you measure body temperature can result in different readings. For example, normal tympanic or rectal temperatures can read as much as 1 Fahrenheit higher than oral temperatures. Body temperature measured under your armpit may be as much as 1 Fahrenheit lower than body temperatures measured orally.

Body temperature fluctuations can occur for several reasons. For example, if you are calm and relaxed, your body temperature may somewhat decrease. But if you are racing through a hectic day at work, your body temperature might elevate a bit.

It is true that being nervous can result in a change in body temperature. But it is a minor change in body temperature, only about plus or minus 1 Fahrenheit.

How does hyperventilation lower body temperature?

Many people hyperventilate under stress. Hyperventilation, or sustained abnormal increase in breathing,  is when you breathe too quickly or inhale too much oxygen as a result of stress. If you are hyperventilating, you need to adjust your breathing. When you change your breathing, you allow your body to return to healthy carbon dioxide levels.

The lower body temperature can be caused when the body struggles to move blood around. Until your body adjusts, you can experience the sensation of chills or simply feel cold.

When over-breathing or hyperventilating, you might experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Muscle spasms in the feet and hands
  • Feeling dizzy, weak, or lightheaded
  • Pounding heartbeat or chest pain
  • Tingling in the arms
  • Numbness or tingling around the mouth
  • Inability to think straight
  • Dry mouth
  • Problem falling and staying asleep
  • Belching or bloating

Chills can occur for a variety of reasons.

Chills can happen for a wide range of reasons. Chills can simply indicate that you are cold because you are in a cold environment. Chills can also suggest that you are really surprised by something or someone.  But when you are under stress. You may overthink or overreact your experience of chills and believe that it is caused by some other, more serious thing.

Restricted Blood Flow and the Sensation of Cold Due to Anxiety

It is common, in case of nervousness and anxiety, for a person to feel chilly or cold. This is the result of restricted blood flow to your skin due to the constriction of blood vessels attributable to the stress response.

Can stress or anxiety also increase body temperature?

Stress, fear, and anxiety can increase your body’s metabolism. The corollary of increased metabolism is heat. Being anxious or stressed can also increase body temperature.

Why do I have sweat chills when I am nervous?

Chills are expected when you are cold. Under stress, a person’s body can sweat. It is a way your body notifies you there a potential danger is present. We sweat to cool our bodies. You could experience cold chills as a result of stress-induced sweating. Many of us don’t even realize that we started sweating when we get nervous, until the onset of cold chills.

Why does the cold make me anxious?

For many of us, it is difficult to relax when we feel cold. Drops in temperature complicate our lives. Even simple tasks such as going to the grocery store or getting to work can be more difficult in cold temperatures. Cold can increase our stress level and cause seasonal depression. A drop in temperature can impact not only your energy levels and motivation but also your mood. It can lead to a feeling of hopelessness, and it can negatively affect your appetite and sleep patterns.

What causes the feeling of being cold?

Feeling cold in a cold environment is normal, but some people are shivering when no one else is. Why?

Feeling cold all the time can be a sign of a medical condition. It is critical not to ignore these symptoms. If you are frequently cold long after you have come in from the cold, or in a warm environment, check with your physician to find out what’s happening with your body.

Can anxiety give you cold symptoms?

It is no secret that stress impacts your mental and physical health. And to put it bluntly, stress can make you sick because it suppresses your immune system. People who suffer from chronic anxiety may be more likely to get the flu, the common cold or cold sores, and other types of infection. The reason you get sick is that your immune system is unable to suppress the virus. Many people report getting sick more frequently while coping with stress.

What can I do to prevent feeling cold when stressed?

The best thing to do is to address your stress issues. Reducing stress and anxiety can help diminish and ultimately eliminate body temperature change. Regular deep relaxation, regular exercise, relax through the art of painting, and meditation can also help to alleviate fluctuating body temperatures.

How can I eliminate feeling cold even if I know it is caused by anxiety?

The best way to relieve anxiety-induced cold is to do what you always do when you feel cold. Dress warmer, get up and move around, turn on the heat if you need to. This works even if you know that you are feeling cold due to anxiety. Cold feels unpleasant regardless of its cause, and the warmer you are, the less cold you will experience.

Ways to Stop Stress or Anxiety Triggered Chills

You can also try to manage your chills, whether related to stress or anxiety, by bundling up. Wrapping up in a blanket or coat can be helpful. It could help you feel warmer and prevent your body from getting even colder.

Walking around stimulates blood flow and can be helpful in managing stress-triggered chills. If you experience chills, force yourself to get up and walk, even if you don’t really feel like it. Walking isn’t guaranteed to stop the chills, but it can warm you up a bit.

Breathing techniques are also useful in managing your body temperature. The way you breathe can affect stress levels and can, in the same way, contribute to the onset of chills. Slowing down your breathing while resisting the urge to take deep breaths can help manage both your anxiety and the chills.

Stress-induced changes in body temperature is a normal and healthy response. It isn’t harmful, but a normal response. These temperature fluctuations will subside as you address your stressors.