How to deal with Anxiety Sweating : 10 Tips to Beat Anxiety and Unwanted Sweat

Anxiety can be overwhelming and sometimes unexpected. When anxiety strikes, it can leave you feeling uncomfortable or overwhelmed. For some, anxiety is not just a mental or emotional response; physical symptoms can also present and contribute to the feelings of anxiety.

Sweating is a physical symptom of anxiety that makes most of us uncomfortable. Anxiety has been shown to increase sweating, which can create more stress for those who experience this symptom. It can be horrifying to be presenting to a room full of colleagues and feel beads of sweating rolling down your face or back. This stress can increase feelings of unease and create a vicious anxiety cycle.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of emotional unease or stress that can also manifest with physical symptoms. It is a common condition experienced by millions of people around the world. Most people who experience anxiety find that they feel most anxious during specific events or in certain situations. However, some people can experience anxiety without warning and have symptoms of anxiety that are disproportional to the inciting event.

When a person experiences anxiety, they may feel like their mind is racing or foggy. Their body often displays physical symptoms as well. These symptoms can include sweating. Anxiety can present differently in different people, meaning some people may experience many symptoms while others may only experience one or two symptoms. When anxiety and symptoms of anxiety start to impact a person’s lifestyle, they should consider seeking professional help.

Why does anxiety cause excessive sweating?

One of the more curious physical symptoms of anxiety is sweating. This symptom is related to the response of the body when it is feeling stressed. Even when periods of anxiety are short, anxious feelings cause the body to react in an attempt to protect you from perceived stressor. It does this by sending signals to different areas of the body to prepare you for a “fight or flight” response.

Sweating is one way the body gets rid of fluids during stressful times. This is the body’s attempt to minimize bathroom breaks you would have to take if you were in “flight” from a dangerous situation. The body also increases metabolism, heart rate, and breathing rate which can lead you to feel hot and sweat as a result of the body temperature increase.

Why does sweating lead to anxiety?

Sweating after a hard workout or while standing in the sun for hours on a hot summer day seems natural, and most people do not feel worried when sweating in these and other similar situations. However, some people experience sweating in inconvenient places on their body or during uncomfortable situations. When this happens, it can cause that person a lot of stress about their interactions with others during these times of excessive sweating. As a person starts to feel anxious about their sweating problem, it may cause them to sweat further and a vicious cycle begins.

Do I have Anxiety?

Anxiety might not look or feel the same for everyone, but there are some common symptoms that people who are experiencing anxiety may have. They include physical symptoms and mental or emotional symptoms. Some of the physical symptoms of anxiety include an increase in heart rate, feeling short of breath, feeling shaky, having stomach problems, and sweating. Mental or emotional symptoms include being nervous, having a hard time focusing, or feeling restless.

Almost everyone will experience times of anxiety throughout their life. For example, you may experience these symptoms before giving a presentation to a large group or during a job interview. However, if you experience severe symptoms that prevent you from participating in certain events, it might benefit you to talk with a physician or mental health provider to see how they can help.

What causes anxiety?

There are different situations that may trigger anxiety for people, but the symptoms usually occur when the body perceives a stressful situation. The events or situations that cause anxiety for people are often related to their past experiences. Some people may experience anxiety without being in a stressful situation. If their anxiety is severe, they may have an anxiety disorder. It is thought anxiety disorders might be related to genetics and can run in certain families. It can also be related to other mental health conditions, such as depression.

How to deal with anxiety?

If you have had it with excessive sweating and anxiety, there are some things you can try that can help minimize your symptoms and help you find relief.

  • Deep breathing: Taking slow, deep breaths can signal to the rest of your body to calm down and reduce your stress response. This means there will be less signals that can contribute to sweating.
  • Minimize your stress: This can be accomplished in a couple of ways. If it is possible, walk away from the situation that is causing you so much stress. However, if that is not a possibility, try exercises that can “trick” your body into thinking the stressor is gone. Picture yourself in a calm environment. Try to focus on positive things and avoid dwelling on your excessive sweating.
  • Sleep: Sleep is so important for our bodies to be able to function at their best. This is also true for feelings of anxiety. Getting enough sleep can help reduce your body’s reactivity to stressful situations and generally help you feel calmer. A lack of sleep can also be stressful for your body and can lead to some symptoms of anxiety, even if there is no triggering event.
  • Avoid “sweaty” foods: Try to stay away from foods and drinks that can increase your body’s likelihood to sweat – especially if you anticipate a stressful situation. These include spicy foods, hot food, alcohol, and caffeine.
  • Have cooling measures available: There are a lot of different gadgets, creams, and sprays to help you cool down if you are feeling hot and sweaty. Find something that works well for you, and make sure you always have it on hand for your extra sweaty moments.
  • Deodorant: There are many different types of anti-perspirants on the market. Make sure you find one that works well to reduce your sweat (and also has a scent you like) and bring it with you. Often, there are travel size containers that make having deodorant on hand easy and discreet.
  • Wear the right clothing: The clothes you wear can make a big impact on the amount you sweat. If possible, wear clothing that is breathable and loose-fitting. It can also help to wear an undershirt that will absorb some of the sweat and make it less obvious to those around you.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking water is important to make sure you stay hydrated, especially if you experience moments of excessive sweating. However, water can also reduce your body’s sweat response because being adequately hydrated helps the body cool down without having to sweat as much.
  • Bring back ups: If you know you are going to encounter a stressful situation, and you often sweat when you are anxious, plan ahead. Bring a shirt to change into when you have calmed down. Bring face wipes or make-up to refresh and touch up after experiencing excessive sweating. Sometimes just having these things prepared can help you overcome the stressful feeling associated with excessive sweating.
  • Ask for help: If you are struggling with anxiety or excessive sweating, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your doctor may be able to refer you to a specialist or provide you with prescription creams or anti-perspirants to help with your sweating. They may also help you identify the cause of your anxiety and guide you to the appropriate treatment.

References:

https://www.anxietycentre.com/anxiety-symptoms/sweating-anxiety.shtml

https://www.healthline.com/health/diagnosing-hyperhidrosis/depression-and-anxiety

https://themighty.com/2018/02/excessive-sweating-anxiety/

https://thompsontee.com/blog/stop-nervous-sweats/

https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety

author avatar
Angel Rivera
I am a Bilingual (Spanish) Psychiatrist with a mixture of strong clinical skills including Emergency Psychiatry, Consultation Liaison, Forensic Psychiatry, Telepsychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry training in treatment of the elderly. I have training in EMR records thus very comfortable in working with computers. I served the difficult to treat patients in challenging environments in outpatient and inpatient settings
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