Six Weird Anxiety Symptoms You Might Not Know About

strange anxiety symptoms

Anxiety presents in weird ways. Over the years I discovered that some of the things I thought were part of who I am are actually just some pretty weird symptoms of anxiety.  

Things like constantly having to go to the bathroom, feeling dizzy, or even yawning a lot could all be a result of increased anxiety in the body.

Throughout my life, I’ve found that learning more about my anxiety has helped me understand myself better. I’m constantly learning new things about anxiety and all the things that come with it (especially the weird stuff).

Let’s dive into some of the odd anxiety symptoms you might be experiencing.

1.   Having to Use the Bathroom Often

bathroom anxiety

One of the most annoying things with anxiety is how it affects both the bowels and bladder. As a result, anxious people tend to need to use the bathroom often.

Anxiety (and panic attacks) can lead to an upset stomach, nausea and diarrhea due to changes in the digestive system (and if you struggle with IBS like me, this often makes those symptoms even worse).

Our bodies have an intricate gut-brain connection. So when our body’s stress responses are triggered, our gut responds. In flight-or-fight mode, our body diverts blood flow away from the abdominal organs, which can cause diarrhea.

Additionally, anxiety can disrupt signals controlling the speed of materials moving through the intestines, resulting in an urgent need to use the bathroom (not great if you’re far from a bathroom.

To add to all this, the intense emotions that often come with anxiety can also trigger immediate gastrointestinal distress, leading to things like nausea and diarrhea.

And it’s not just that. Sometimes anxiety affects your bladder as well. Anxiety leads to muscle tension and makes your nervous system more sensitive, which can cause an overactive bladder.

2.   Feeling Dizzy / Lightheaded

anxiety dizzy

Ever feel like your head is spinning? It happens to me a lot and I always thought it was due to low blood pressure or something else. Turns out, it’s another weird symptom of anxiety.

Anxiety is intricately linked with our body’s physiological responses. During anxiety, our stress response is activated which triggers all sorts of things in the body, leading to dizziness (you might even feel like you’re going to faint). Reasons for this can be due to increased heart rate and blood pressure.

Adrenaline is released during anxiety and panic, and this increases our heart rate and blood pressure, which contributes to the feeling of dizziness, and might also make you feel like you’re going to faint.

A sudden drop in blood pressure (through the vasovagal syncope mechanism) can lead to dizziness and subjective sensations of emotional unsteadiness. It can also cause us to hyperventilate, resulting in a lack of oxygen to the brain. Have you noticed how when you’re anxious you take much shallower breaths?

Another mechanism triggered by anxiety is our vestibular system. This is responsible for sensing body position and movement and can interact with areas in the brain responsible for anxiety, contributing to dizziness. This interaction between the vestibular system and anxiety can exacerbate symptoms, making both conditions worse.

To make things worse, dizziness or lightheadedness during anxiety can be accompanied by other symptoms. Think fearfulness, racing thoughts, increased heart rate, and difficulty concentrating. Fun right?

Personal experience: My dizziness was never too intense, but recently when I was on holiday, I experienced exactly this multiple times. I was standing in a queue at Manchester Airport ready to check in for my flight to Dublin and suddenly it felt like the floor was moving. It felt like I was mere seconds away from passing out. It wasn’t something I’d experienced before and I instantly panicked. Needless to say, my thoughts started spiraling.

The only thing that got me through it was alternate nostril breathing, getting oxygen to my brain and just waiting for the sensations to pass.

3.   Excessive Burping and Belching

strange symptoms of anxiety

This is another one of those not-so-pretty symptoms of anxiety that people don’t talk about. But it is a reality. When we’re under stress or experiencing increased levels of anxiety, it’s completely normal to swallow more air than usual, as a result, we burp more.

Our body’s stress response results in hyperventilation (as I mentioned above). This means we take in too much oxygen and expel too much carbon dioxide. As a result, we belch excessively as our body tries to regulate its oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. Essentially our body is trying to seek balance in a time of stress.

Since anxiety causes acid reflux and gastrointestinal problems (as I explained earlier), no wonder it leads to gas and burping. Since our digestion is slowed down, food sits in our stomachs for longer leading to increased gas production. Then we burp to release this gas build-up. Add in IBS and things really get frustrating.

4.   Yawning constantly and Struggling to Breathe Normally

anxiety yawning

No, you’re not just tired. Yawning a lot is actually another one of those weird symptoms of anxiety. Once again, yawning comes down to hyperventilation.

During hyperventilation, we feel like we need to breathe more even though we’re already pulling in a lot of oxygen (as I said earlier). Since the body feels like it can’t take a full breath, we yawn as a response to expand the ribcage and signal to the brain that a full breath has been taken.

Anxiety also causes muscle tension (especially in the chest and abdomen), which can make breathing feel more challenging, yawing is a method the body uses to compensate for the shallow breathing.

Since anxiety can lead to fatigue and exhaustion, you could also be yawning because you’re tired.

5.   Feeling Detached From Reality / Yourself

odd anxiety symptoms

Have you ever felt like you’re not really in your body? I often describe this as a floaty feeling. It’s also another odd symptom of anxiety. This dreamlike feeling is also known as derealization and/or depersonalization.

Once again, this is triggered by our trauma response causing physiological changes. The combination of increased adrenaline and hyperventilation can lead to this feeling of detachment from reality.

Lightheadedness, hyperventilation, and changes in blood gas composition can contribute to these feelings.

6.   Numbness or Tingling in the Feet and Hands

strange anxiety symptoms

I hate it when my fingers go numb, it used to trigger thoughts of “what if I lose my hands” or “what if there’s something seriously wrong with me” and I’d fall down that rabbit hole. Since my anxiety is high at the moment, my fingers are even tingling as I type. Now I know this is just one of those weird anxiety symptoms.

So why does it happen? Once again, it’s due to our body’s stress response. During our fight-or-flight response, our blood vessels constrict and blood flow is directed away from our extremities towards vital organs like the brain.

This results in reduced circulation to the hands and feet (even face), which can cause that numbness and tingling.

Final Thoughts on Strange Anxiety Symptoms

Anxiety comes in so many different shapes and sizes, and has a whole lot of weird symptoms. I hope this post has helped you understand a little bit more about the symptoms that could be triggered by anxiety.

If you’re struggling with anxiety or the symptoms of it, please don’t be afraid to reach out for help. There are plenty of mental health resources available as well as lots of information online.

Be kind to yourself. 


Tip: One of the biggest things that has helped me with my anxiety in the past few months has been alternate nostril breathing. Not only does it increase oxygen to the brain but it makes me pause, breathe and focus on my actions.

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