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How Anxiety Can Create Circulation Problems

Your blood plays a crucial role in numerous bodily functions. Beyond simply carrying oxygen, your blood warms various parts of your body, tells your heart how hard it needs to work, and more. Your entire circulatory system depends on your blood flowing at the proper pace.

Blood circulation problems can represent serious medical issues. But there are a few circulation problems that are really the result of nothing more than anxiety.

Circulation Problems = Anxiety?

Your heart and your blood pressure are never something to leave to chance. Talk to your doctor, and make sure you find out more about your anxiety levels and what you can do to control them.

Start my anxiety test here to learn more.

Anxiety Circulation Problems Are Not Dangerous

It's important to always speak with a doctor first. That's because while anxiety circulation problems are not dangerous, heart problems are, and it's always a good idea to check them out. You can find out more about your anxiety with my anxiety test, but doctors have developed countless tools to test blood circulation (blood pressure readers being the simplest) and visiting a doctor is extremely important.

Rest assured, however, that anxiety related blood circulation problems do happen. When they do, they are almost never dangerous, and yet in some cases they can trigger experiences that make them feel dangerous. For example:

  • Hyperventilation Hyperventilation is the act of breathing too quickly so that your body doesn’t have time to regain its carbon dioxide levels. Hyperventilation commonly occurs in anxiety and panic attacks, and when it does the blood vessels constrict causing blood to flow slowly. This can create its own symptoms including, but not limited to:

    • Cold and tingling hands and feet.
    • Rapid heartbeat.
    • Lightheadedness and feelings of faint.
  • Adrenaline Adrenaline has the opposite effect on your blood vessels, but for some reason tends to cause the same symptoms. Adrenaline actually dilates your blood vessels so that blood can move more quickly, and yet in some cases the blood doesn't move as quickly as your body expects and the result is tingling hands and feet, rapid heartbeat, and more.

In the latter case, your body is moving the blood away from your extremities and into your muscles. This can cause them to become much colder, leading to this feeling that something is wrong with your circulation.

Circulation fears are also self-fulfilling. In some cases, those with poor circulation from anxiety worry that they may be suffering from heart failure or generally low heart rate, and that may increase anxiety which ultimately causes the circulation problems to continue. In addition, many people check and recheck their blood pressure and heartbeat, and this behavior also seems to lead to an increase in anxiety.

How to Improve Circulation Problems Caused By Anxiety

When anxiety leads to blood circulation problems, the only way to control them is to control your anxiety. It's the only solution that will allow blood to circulate from your muscles back into your hands and feet, and reduce some of the other issues caused by circulation and anxiousness.

Seeing a trained psychologist can be beneficial. You can also try the following easy to perform at-home treatments that are known to benefit those with anxiety, including:

  • Exercise Exercise has been proven to be as effective as some of the leading anxiety medications at reducing anxiety symptoms. Regular exercise pumps "good feeling" neurotransmitters into your brain, so that your mood is improved. Talk to your doctor about a healthy exercise regimen.
  • Yoga While yoga is a form of exercise, it also has a relaxation component that is especially beneficial, and many people claim that it helps improve circulation. It's also a valuable way to spend time with others if you're willing to also go to a yoga studio.
  • Massage Massage has long been considered a valuable anxiety reduction tool, and some studies have shown that massage may also help people control their circulation. It's believed that massage helps "unblock" some parts of the body that seem to block circulation, possible related to muscle knots and other issues.

Still, the main key is to make sure that you are doing whatever it takes to control your anxiety, making smart decisions for anxiety relief based on your symptoms.

I've helped many people that felt they were suffering from anxiety circulation issues control their anxiety. You should start with my free 7 minute anxiety test now. This test is the best way to get a snapshot of your symptoms and how they interact, so that you can make the right choices for controlling your anxiety forever.

Start the test here, now.


Guszkowska, M. Effects of exercise on anxiety, depression and mood. Psychiatria polska 38.4 (2004): 611.

Kety, Seymour S., and Carl F. Schmidt. The effects of active and passive hyperventilation on cerebral blood flow, cerebral oxygen consumption, cardiac output, and blood pressure of normal young men. Journal of Clinical Investigation 25.1 (1946): 107.

Raichle, Marcus E., and F. Plum. Hyperventilation and cerebral blood flow. Stroke 3.5 (1972): 566-575.

Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Sep 28, 2017.

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