How Anxiety May Cause Cold Feet

Micah Abraham, BSc

Written by

Micah Abraham, BSc

Last updated October 10, 2020

How Anxiety May Cause Cold Feet

Cold feet may be the term for those that are anxious on their wedding day, but it's also a very real physical issue that people deal with constantly. In fact, cold feet is one of the most forgotten types of anxiety symptoms, and yet it really is something that can be caused simply because you're living with greater levels and anxiety.

In this article, we'll explore some of the causes of cold feet and their potential solutions - beyond simply wearing socks.

Types of Anxiety and Cold Feet

Anxiety is a comprehensive condition.

But while cold feet aren't a primary anxiety symptom, they are a very real one. Many people seem to deal with cold feet as a result of their anxiety, and that can make things like sleeping and relaxing around the house much more uncomfortable.

Ways Anxiety Causes Cold Feet

Anxiety actually creates a feeling of cold feet in many different ways. It's not as simple as anxiety simply taking heat away from your heat. In fact, cold feet can be caused by a host of different issues, including:

  • Sweating One of the most forgotten reasons that anxiety leads to cold feet is because when you have anxiety you sweat regularly. Anxiety itself is the activation of a system in your body that's meant to help you flee when you're faced with danger. Sweating is designed to cool down your body so that you don't overheat when you run away. Unfortunately, since there is no danger, you simply start to sweat, and your soles sweat a great deal and are prone to feeling cold more than other areas of the body.
  • Blood Flow From Hyperventilation Anxiety also can lead to faster breathing and hyperventilation. Hyperventilation causes blood vessels to constrict, which slows down blood flow dramatically. It's still flowing into your feet, but because it's slowed down it causes them to experience less heat and feel cold in normal environments. It may also tingle and feel numb too.
  • Increased Sensitivity Not all cold feet is the result of changes to your body. Some are the result of changes to your mind. That is the case with increased sensitivity. Anxiety makes people more prone to feeling discomforts - discomforts that they may have had anyway. The mind essentially "dials in" to any discomfort and amplifies it. So your feet may have always been a little cold once in a while, but anxiety causes you to notice it more.

These are all potential reasons that your feet may be freezing from anxiety, and any one of them can play a role in why your feet feel colder now than they did in the past.

How to Overcome Cold Feet

Whether you're feeling cold feet from anxiety or cold feet because it's cold in your home, the best way to warm them up is with socks, shoes, or improving the heat around you. Taking a warm shower seems to be very helpful in this regard as well.

The only true way to make sure that your cold feet don't continue to bother you is, of course, by making sure you stop experiencing the anxiety that causes them in the first place.

Questions? Comments?

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Where can I go to learn more about Jacobson’s relaxation technique and other similar methods?

– Anonymous patient


You can ask your doctor for a referral to a psychologist or other mental health professional who uses relaxation techniques to help patients. Not all psychologists or other mental health professionals are knowledgeable about these techniques, though. Therapists often add their own “twist” to the technqiues. Training varies by the type of technique that they use. Some people also buy CDs and DVDs on progressive muscle relaxation and allow the audio to guide them through the process.

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