Written & Reviewed by
Gaston Molina
Published on
June 2, 2024

What is Anxiety Nausea?

Anxiety nausea is a common experience that many individuals struggle with, particularly those who suffer from anxiety disorders. It is the uncomfortable feeling of queasiness or an unsettled stomach that often accompanies feelings of stress, worry, or panic. This type of nausea can be debilitating, making it difficult to go about our daily lives and activities.

As someone who has personally dealt with anxiety nausea, I understand the frustration and discomfort it can cause. However, I’m here to share some effective strategies that have helped me manage this condition and find relief. By understanding the causes, recognizing the physical symptoms, and implementing coping techniques, we can take control of our anxiety nausea and improve our overall well-being.

Causes of Anxiety Nausea

There are several factors that can contribute to the development of anxiety nausea. One of the primary causes is the body’s physiological response to stress. When we experience anxiety, our sympathetic nervous system is activated, triggering the release of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones can have a direct impact on our digestive system, leading to feelings of nausea.

Additionally, the connection between the brain and the gut, known as the gut-brain axis, plays a significant role in the experience of anxiety nausea. Emotions and stress can directly influence the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, causing disruptions and discomfort.

Other potential causes of anxiety nausea include:

  • Overthinking and Rumination: Constantly worrying and dwelling on anxious thoughts can exacerbate the physical symptoms of nausea.
  • Dehydration: Anxiety can sometimes lead to reduced fluid intake, which can contribute to nausea.
  • Medication Side Effects: Certain medications used to treat anxiety, such as antidepressants, can have nausea as a side effect.
  • Underlying Medical Conditions: In some cases, anxiety nausea may be a symptom of an underlying health issue, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or gastroparesis.

Understanding the root causes of your anxiety nausea can help you develop more targeted strategies for managing the condition.

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety Nausea

The physical symptoms of anxiety nausea can vary from person to person, but some common experiences include:

  • Feeling an unsettled or queasy stomach
  • Experiencing a loss of appetite or reduced desire to eat
  • Feeling a tightness or discomfort in the abdomen
  • Experiencing increased salivation or a feeling of excessive saliva in the mouth
  • Experiencing nausea that ranges from mild to severe
  • In some cases, vomiting or dry heaving

These physical sensations can be highly unpleasant and disruptive to our daily lives. Recognizing the specific symptoms you experience can help you better identify and manage your anxiety nausea.

Coping Strategies for Anxiety Nausea

Fortunately, there are various coping strategies and techniques that can help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety nausea. By implementing a combination of these approaches, you can find relief and regain control over your well-being.

Breathing Exercises

Deep breathing is a powerful tool in managing anxiety nausea. When we’re feeling anxious, our breathing can become shallow and rapid, which can exacerbate nausea. By practicing deep, diaphragmatic breathing, we can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps to calm the body and reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety.

One effective breathing exercise is the 4-7-8 method:

  1. Inhale slowly through your nose, counting to 4.
  2. Hold your breath for a count of 7.
  3. Exhale slowly through your mouth, counting to 8.
  4. Repeat this cycle several times, focusing on the rhythm of your breath.

Mindfulness Techniques

Mindfulness practices can be incredibly helpful in managing anxiety nausea. By bringing our attention to the present moment and focusing on our senses, we can interrupt the cycle of anxious thoughts and physical symptoms.

One mindfulness exercise you can try is the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique:

  1. Identify 5 things you can see in your immediate environment.
  2. Identify 4 things you can touch or feel.
  3. Identify 3 things you can hear.
  4. Identify 2 things you can smell.
  5. Identify 1 thing you can taste.

This exercise can help you become more aware of your surroundings and shift your focus away from the nausea.

Dietary Changes

What we eat and drink can have a significant impact on our digestive system and the experience of anxiety nausea. Incorporating certain dietary changes can help alleviate the symptoms:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Avoid trigger foods that may exacerbate nausea, such as greasy, spicy, or acidic items.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals to prevent an empty stomach, which can worsen nausea.
  • Incorporate ginger, peppermint, or chamomile tea, as these can have a soothing effect on the stomach.
  • Consider adding probiotic-rich foods to your diet, as they can support gut health and potentially reduce nausea.

Seeking Professional Help

If anxiety nausea persists or significantly interferes with your daily life, it’s important to seek professional help. A healthcare provider, such as a primary care physician or a mental health professional, can help you identify the underlying causes of your anxiety nausea and develop a comprehensive treatment plan.

They may recommend a combination of therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to address the psychological aspects of anxiety, or medication to manage the physical symptoms. Working with a professional can provide you with the support and guidance needed to effectively manage your anxiety nausea.


Anxiety nausea is a challenging condition, but with the right strategies and support, it can be managed effectively. By understanding the causes, recognizing the physical symptoms, and implementing coping techniques like breathing exercises, mindfulness practices, and dietary changes, you can take control of your anxiety nausea and improve your overall well-being.

Remember, you don’t have to face this challenge alone. Seeking professional help when needed can be a crucial step in finding lasting relief and regaining your quality of life. With patience, persistence, and a willingness to try different approaches, you can overcome the discomfort of anxiety nausea and reclaim your sense of balance and stability.

If you’re struggling with anxiety nausea, don’t hesitate to reach out for support. Consider speaking with a healthcare provider or mental health professional who can help you develop a personalized plan to manage your symptoms and improve your overall well-being. Remember, you have the power to take control of your anxiety nausea and find the relief you deserve.

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