All of us at anxietycentre.com have experienced debilitating anxiety. But we’ve also overcome it and returned to normal and lasting health. Because we know the hardship anxiety unwellness can cause, we are committed to helping others, with over 27 years of service.” - Jim Folk, President, anxietycentre.com

Slow Motion Feeling Anxiety Symptoms

Slow motion feeling anxiety symptoms descriptions

Common descriptions for the slow motion feeling anxiety symptoms include:

This slow motion feeling anxiety symptom can affect one sense, many senses, or all of your senses.

This slow motion feeling anxiety symptom can come and go rarely, occur frequently, or persist indefinitely. For example, you may feel the slow motion feeling anxiety once and a while and not that often, feel it off and on, or feel it all the time.

This slow motion feeling anxiety symptom may precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety sensations and symptoms, or occur by itself.

This slow motion feeling anxiety symptom can precede, accompany, or follow an episode of nervousness, anxiety, fear, and elevated stress, or occur ‘out of the blue’ and for no apparent reason.

This slow motion feeling anxiety symptom can range in intensity from slight, to moderate, to severe. It can also come in waves, where it’s strong one moment and eases off the next.

This slow motion feeling anxiety symptom can change from day to day, and/or from moment to moment.

All of the above combinations and variations are common.

Why anxiety can cause the slow motion feeling?

Behaving anxiously activates the stress response. The stress response immediately causes specific physiological, psychological, and emotional changes that enhance the body's ability to deal with a threat - to either fight with or flee from it - which is the reason the stress response is often referred to as the fight or flight response.

A part of the stress response changes include changing how the brain functions and processes information. For example, stress hormones cause the fear center of the brain (amygdala) to be more active and the rationalization areas of the brain (cortex) to become suppressed. This change is ideal when in real danger because it heightens our awareness and reaction to danger rather than slowing us down due to processing information.

The stress response also stimulates the nervous system, which includes the brain, so that our senses are on high alert and our reactions are quicker, to name a few. Again, these changes enhance our ability to fight or flee when in real danger, and as such, are welcome changes.

When stress responses occur infrequently, the body can recover relatively quickly from the physiological, psychological, and emotional changes the stress response brings about. Therefore, these changes are temporary and generally cause no lingering effects.

When stress responses occur too frequently and/or dramatically, however, the body has a more difficult time recovering, which can result in the body remaining in a semi emergency readiness state. This persistent emergency readiness can cause lingering effects, such as more persistent brain function and processing changes, which can make it seem as if we are, or the world is in, slow motion.

As long as the body and nervous system are in a state of semi emergency readiness, they can misbehave, including causing the many anomalies associated with this slow motion feeling anxiety symptom.

When I (Jim Folk) first experienced the slow motion feeling anxiety symptom, I thought it must have been caused by a serious medical, neurological, or mental illness because it was so unusual. So yes, this slow motion feeling anxiety symptom can really scare you if you don’t understand how apprehensive behavior can cause it.

How to get rid of the slow motion feeling anxiety symptom?

If your doctor has ruled out other causes for the slow motion feeling anxiety symptom, such as a side effect of medication, fatigue, low blood sugar, an adverse effect of recreational drugs, etc., the stress anxiety causes is a common cause of feeling like everything is in slow motion.

In this case, dealing with your anxiety issues and reducing your body’s stress will resolve this slow motion feeling anxiety symptom in time. When your body has fully recovered from the semi emergency readiness state, this symptom will completely subside. Therefore, the slow motion feeling anxiety symptom needn’t be a cause for concern. It’s generally not an indication of any other than a body that’s become overly stressed.

You can speed up the recovery process by reducing your stress, practicing relaxed breathing, increasing your rest and relaxation, and not worrying about this feeling. Sure, it can be unsettling and even bothersome. But again, when your body has recovered from its overly stressed state, this slow motion feeling anxiety symptom will completely disappear.

If you are having difficulty containing your worry, you may want to connect with one of our anxiety disorder therapists, coaches, or counselors. Working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to overcome what seems like unmanageable worry.

For a more detailed explanation about anxiety symptoms, including the slow motion feeling anxiety symptoms, why symptoms can persist long after the stress response has ended, common barriers to recovery and symptom elimination, what containment is and how to do it, and more recovery strategies and tips, we have many chapters that address this information in the Recovery Support area of our website.

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - we call these core causes the underlying factors of anxiety - a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.


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Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated March 21, 2017.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and coaching/counseling/therapy for problematic anxiety and its sensations and symptoms, including the anxiety symptom slow motion feeling.