To understand whether or not can anxiety cause clumsiness let us review a classic example.
You know this cliche about the “nervous loser” guy in all types of media?
The one who gets way over his head, stutters, has odd speech patterns and messes up a lot?
Maybe the kind of guy that tries to be suave and goes to talk to a girl, only to end up messing terribly due to how fake and forced his confidence is?
Typically this is a sidekick sort of character, mainly there for comic relief.
One question that no one ever thought about asking is whether or not such a character has a basis in real life.
That is to say, a nervous wreck who always messes things up and is extremely awkward.
Does this archetype exist in real life? Are nervousness and anxiety connected to clumsiness?
As it turns out – The answer to both of these questions is yes!
Anxiety leads to poor performance
Back in 2015, a study attempted to show the relation between singing and high/low-stress situations.
When the participants were asked to sing in a low-stress scenario (all the while having their stress hormone levels measured) it was determined that singing by itself lowers anxiety.
However, when they were asked to sing in a high-stress situation, the singing part seemed to have gotten in their way, showing a major increase in their overall stress levels.
Heck, you probably experienced that much by yourself in your daily lives.
Think back on it for a moment – whenever you get stressed, does this stress actually help you accomplish your goals?
Say you have a deadline to meet or a meeting to attend to (when you are late already).
What about when you find yourself in an unpleasant social encounter that you want to get out of?
Does this stress help you get things done, or does it hinder you? seeing as anxiety is excessive worry and stress all piled up, this is a mundane example of an actual mental illness.
Imagine this sense of stress, but rather than it being an occurrence and nothing more, think about it as a lifestyle.
With worry and stress always being present it’s pretty much unavoidable.
Clumsiness – a symptom?
This leads us to the question – is clumsiness a symptom of anxiety and stress?
The answer is no, it isn’t.
That being said, there is a “but” here – anxiety has many types of symptoms that are attributed to it, and there are several types of anxiety, so when they all end up coming together they might become the source of your newfound clumsiness problem.
Getting easily distracted
One symptom of anxiety is the struggle to focus on one thing and one thing only.
From a purely biological viewpoint, this actually makes perfect sense.
Anxiety is nothing but obsessive stress and worry, both of which are survival mechanisms.
After all, if we weren’t worried about finding a dry place to spend the night, or feeling stressed due to being chased by a predator, we wouldn’t have been alive in this day and age.
These feelings of worry and stress made us look for a quick solution, never focusing too much on one thing, for the purpose of finding a way out.
So when we need to do a specific task that causes us stress, like getting up on stage for some public speaking, our brain will view it as danger and look for a way out.
In other words, instead of performing your part as expected, your eyes are likely to wonder, alongside your thoughts.
You will suddenly forget what you were talking about and have to try and refocus yourself.
Because of that, people with anxiety tend to seem confused, something which makes their behavior seem unfocused and clumsy.
Bonus points: The Reaction
So if you are giving a speech about something, and then you get all flustered and confused, you can expect some people to give you lip for it.
They will laugh, groan, roll their eyes and so on.
Some types of reactions are very likely to make you even more stressed out and worried, leading you to mess up even more.
This is a vicious cycle – you mess up, they mock you, you mess up even more, they mock you once again and so on.
There are ways to put an end to this cycle.
I’ll share it with you soon.
Shakiness and twitching
Remember how I said that stress and worry are survival mechanisms, and how anxiety is just them going overboard?
The brain struggles to focus on a single thing when experiencing stress, but the body fairs no better – you will find your hands shaking, your muscles twitching and your heart racing.
The need, the urge, to move is very overpowering.
This is your body telling you to run away since it senses that you are in danger.
Yeah, really makes you wonder if our bodies and brains are stupid or something.
Sure, this extra boost to movement might have been helpful in running away a few tens of thousands of years ago, but now most of our stress-related issues are far from dangerous.
You might be experiencing these symptoms during a delicate work, like a doctor operating on a patient.
Stress gets in your way.
Clumsiness can be a real killer in such a situation
Or when you are going on a date with a girl/guy that you like, you being all twitchy with the silverware won’t leave a good impression, now will it?
We sweat, we twitch, we may even feel numb.
Our body becomes a very blunt and inefficient tool when it is put under stress.
Overthinking and analyzing
Earlier I said that we tend to get our thoughts “out there” when we are stress, but anxiety is excessive stress and worry.
So by going from one thing to another, as if distracted, you actually end up living inside your own head, with your own thoughts.
You don’t pay attention to your surroundings, you are moving without care and are doing things that appear to be done randomly, without thought.
People laugh, you get flustered, and still continue being “weird”
This is actually a symptom that I experienced more than the others, I was this oddball that everyone gave weird looks to, and I can’t bring myself to blame them either.
It is kind of funny how the mind wanders when there is nothing holding it back.
It’s not a symptom, but it’s still happening
Clumsiness isn’t a symptom of anxiety, yet it’s not an uncommon experience.
When the symptoms align and everything comes down together it will be possible to spot this odd, twitching, guy who seems to live in his own world.
In other words, this clumsiness is a combination of multiple factors of anxiety.
But worry not, my friend, there is a perfectly reasonable solution to this madness.
Overcome. your. anxiety.
Anxiety is making those thoughts, so it only stands to reason that dealing with it will also deal with them.
That being said, overcoming anxiety takes time and effort, something that you might lack at the moment.
Not only that, but with clumsiness being a result of multiple symptoms of anxiety, decreasing all of these symptoms might not be easy.
In light of that, here are a few things that you can do to decrease this feeling of clumsiness
- Controlled breathing is great for relaxation. Whenever you need to focus take a deep breath to the count of 4, hold it in to the count of 7 and release it to the count of 8. This is a very powerful breathing exercise that will help you focus better and decrease all of your symptoms for a short while.
- Meditation works great as well.
- The best way to think less is to do more! Be sure to take action rather than continuing on thinking about it.
- Try engaging in stimulating activities that require great focus to accomplish.
All of these are very powerful methods, for more practical advice I would recommend checking out my tips on how to stop rumination.
Get over your anxiety
All of these methods are powerful and effective in decreasing the symptoms of your anxiety, but they will not make your clumsiness go away completely.
Until you treat the source of your problems then they are unlikely to disappear.
I would recommend checking out The Panic Away Program to get the help that you need.
Before you leave, however, here’s a question for you – What was your biggest screw-up caused by anxiety?
Mine was when I kept ignoring my commander back in the military, something which I learned to regret.
If you could die from being screamed at I would be dead three times over.
Write down your answers in the comment section below, I would love to read them!
If you got any question then feel free to send me an email, I always reply to those!