Anxiety affects a lot of people, and it physically manifests in a lot of different ways, unique to the individual and the situation, however a tingling sensation in extremities such as fingers or toes have been linked to anxiety.
This being said, physical responses to anxiety rarely occur in isolation. Physical symptoms of anxiety are often triggered by a release of the stress hormone cortisol or the chemical adrenaline in the caveman part of our brain. This is the survival-driven part of our brain that our newer, rational cortex grew on top of. Its primary concern is keeping us alive, so when our brain perceives a threat, it releases these stress chemicals and activates a response called the fight, flight or freeze response. This puts our body on high alert, and as a result, our body prepares to either fight, flight or freeze.
Why Does Anxiety Cause Tingling Hands?
Once our fight, flight or freeze response is activated, our body reacts by redirecting blood and oxygen to the major organs and muscles, preparing us to run away or fight or be perfectly still. In doing this, it draws blood away from the extremities, leaving them either numb, cold or with a pins and needles style tingling sensation, or a combination of the three.
Tingling hands can also be indicative of other conditions, so if they tend to last over ten minutes at a time, it might be worth consulting a doctor.
How Do I Stop This Symptom?
As, on the surface, this symptom is rooted in the circulatory system, getting moving is the best way to stop tingling hands. Opening and closing your fists, walking around or jumping can help to redirect the blood flow.
Of course, this helps us to stop the symptoms in action, but in order to prevent the symptoms occurring, you need to manage or build strategies to tackle your anxiety. There are several options available including CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), mindfulness, medication and group therapy. If you’re unsure, please contact your GP for more information.