Needles and pins-it’s certainly not a pleasant sensation, but really, no sensation associated with anxiety is pleasant. Fortunately for you, it is very possible to overcome that “needles and pins” association by targeting its underlying cause-anxiety.
So how, you may wonder, does anxiety cause this awkward sensation in your extremities? Well, it’s important to understand that anxiety stems from a very ancient response to threats in our environment. When you become anxious, it triggers a “fight or flight” response that that can lead to all sorts of physical sensations in your body because it affects the adrenal gland, which shoots a surge of adrenaline. This surge of adrenaline comes with a host of side effects, including the pins and needle sensation that you are feeling. More specifically, anxiety can compress nerves in your extremities, and that lack of circulation gives you that needles and pins feelings, the same feeling that you get when you’ve crossed your legs in the same position for too long and cut off the circulation. Sometimes you completely lose feeling for this reason. Addressing your anxiety issues will alleviate this problem, but it doesn’t help you in the moment that you’re experiencing the sensation.
To deal with “needles and pins” try to move the area of your body that is experiencing it to increase the blood flow. You can do this by clenching your fist or shaking your leg. If possible, try walking or doing a light jog. If it’s in your neck, rock your head up and down to increase the blood flow there.
The second way to solve this problem to is to learn to breathe deeply to counteract your feelings of panic and anxiety. To do this, begin by taking a deep breath from your diaphragm for five seconds, holding for five seconds, and then slowly releasing. Continue doing this until you begin to feel relaxed. Practicing this on a regular basis is like killing two birds with one stone, because you’re treating your anxiety and your improving blood flow.
A third option is to exercise on a regular basis. Exercise can improve your blood circulation and encourage the release of endorphin, which, in layman’s terms, are known as “feel-good” hormones in your brain. There are several studies out there that confirm the positive connection between exercise and the alleviation of depression and for best results, try to get at least a half hour of cardio in for at least five days a week.
Finally, if anxiety continues to be a major impediment in your life, you can always visit a therapist to discuss your concerns. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, in particular, will be very beneficial in addressing the problematic and unrealistic thinking that can so often lead to anxiety.
By employing these four methods, those pins and needle sensations will soon be obliterated, and you’ll be well on your way to a life that is filled with much less anxiety.
“Generalized Anxiety Disorder.” NHS Choices. <http://www.nhs.uk> 10 Nov 2012