Top 50 Slang For Anxiety – Meaning & Usage

Anxiety is a common experience for many, but sometimes finding the right words to describe it can be a challenge. Fear not, as we at Fluentslang have curated a list of slang terms for anxiety that can help you articulate those overwhelming feelings. Dive into our listicle and discover new ways to express and understand this complex emotion.

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1. Jitters

The jitters refer to a feeling of nervousness or anxiety, often accompanied by trembling or shakiness. It is a colloquial term used to describe the physical and emotional unease experienced in situations that cause anxiety.

  • For example, before a big presentation, you might say, “I always get the jitters right before I have to speak in front of a crowd.”
  • When someone is feeling anxious about an upcoming event, they might say, “I can’t shake these jitters, I’m so nervous.”
  • A person experiencing jitters due to caffeine intake might say, “I had too much coffee this morning, and now I’m all jittery.”

2. Butterflies

The term “butterflies” is used to describe the fluttery feeling in the stomach that often accompanies nervousness or excitement. It is a colloquial term that represents the physical sensation of anxiety or anticipation.

  • For instance, before a first date, someone might say, “I have butterflies in my stomach.”
  • When waiting for important news or results, a person might say, “I can’t eat because I have butterflies.”
  • A performer before going on stage might say, “The butterflies are kicking in, but I’m ready to give it my all.”

3. Panic Attack

A panic attack is a sudden and overwhelming episode of intense anxiety. It is characterized by symptoms such as a racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness, and a sense of impending doom. Panic attacks can be triggered by specific situations or can occur unexpectedly.

  • For example, someone might say, “I had a panic attack in the middle of the grocery store and had to leave.”
  • When describing a panic attack, a person might say, “It felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest, and I couldn’t breathe.”
  • A person sharing their experience might say, “During a panic attack, I feel like I’m losing control and that something terrible is about to happen.”

4. Freaking out

The term “freaking out” is used to describe a state of extreme anxiety or panic. It is a colloquial expression that represents the feeling of being overwhelmed and unable to cope with a situation.

  • For instance, when faced with a difficult task, someone might say, “I’m freaking out, I don’t know how to handle this.”
  • When experiencing intense anxiety, a person might say, “I’m freaking out right now, I can’t calm down.”
  • A person might describe their reaction to a stressful event by saying, “I totally freaked out when I heard the news, I couldn’t think straight.”

5. Nervous wreck

The term “nervous wreck” is used to describe someone who is constantly in a state of high anxiety or nervousness. It is a colloquial term that represents a person who is easily overwhelmed by stress or worry.

  • For example, someone might say, “I’m a nervous wreck before exams, I can’t sleep or eat.”
  • When describing their own anxiety, a person might say, “I’m a total nervous wreck, I worry about everything.”
  • A person might express concern for a friend by saying, “She’s always a nervous wreck, I wish I could help her relax.”

6. Frazzled

Feeling overwhelmed or exhausted due to stress or pressure. “Frazzled” is often used to describe someone who is mentally or emotionally drained.

  • For example, “I’ve been working long hours all week, and I’m feeling completely frazzled.”
  • A person might say, “I’m so frazzled right now, I can’t even think straight.”
  • Another might express, “The constant demands of my job have left me feeling frazzled and burnt out.”

7. Shook

Feeling extremely unsettled, shocked, or disturbed. “Shook” is often used to describe a strong emotional reaction to a stressful or anxiety-inducing event.

  • For instance, “I just watched a horror movie, and now I’m shook.”
  • A person might say, “The news of the accident has left me feeling really shook.”
  • Another might express, “I can’t believe what happened yesterday, I’m still shook from it.”

8. Overwhelmed

Feeling completely overcome or inundated by a large amount of stress, pressure, or tasks. “Overwhelmed” is often used to describe a state of being unable to cope with everything that needs to be done.

  • For example, “I have so much work to do, I’m feeling really overwhelmed.”
  • A person might say, “The responsibilities of being a parent can sometimes leave me feeling overwhelmed.”
  • Another might express, “I’m feeling overwhelmed by all the demands of my social life.”

9. Uneasy

Feeling uneasy or apprehensive, often due to a sense of impending danger or uncertainty. “Uneasy” is often used to describe a general feeling of discomfort or unease.

  • For instance, “I have an uneasy feeling about this situation.”
  • A person might say, “I always feel uneasy when I have to speak in front of a large audience.”
  • Another might express, “The thought of flying makes me feel uneasy.”

10. Tense

Feeling tense or on edge, often due to stress, anxiety, or anticipation. “Tense” is often used to describe a state of heightened nervousness or unease.

  • For example, “I have an important exam tomorrow, and I’m feeling really tense.”
  • A person might say, “I always feel tense when I have to meet new people.”
  • Another might express, “The tense atmosphere in the room made it difficult to relax.”

11. Wound up

To be “wound up” means to be highly anxious or stressed. It refers to the feeling of being tightly wound, like a spring ready to snap.

  • For example, “I’m so wound up about the presentation tomorrow, I can’t sleep.”
  • A person might say, “I’ve been feeling wound up all day, I need to relax.”
  • Another might express, “The constant deadlines have me feeling wound up all the time.”

12. Shaky

When someone is feeling “shaky,” it means they are experiencing anxiety or nervousness. It can also refer to physical symptoms such as trembling or a shaky voice.

  • For instance, “I always get shaky before a big test.”
  • A person might say, “I feel so shaky in social situations.”
  • Another might express, “My hands get shaky whenever I have to speak in public.”

13. Anxious wreck

An “anxious wreck” is someone who is overwhelmed by anxiety or stress. It implies a state of extreme emotional distress and inability to cope.

  • For example, “I’m an anxious wreck before job interviews.”
  • A person might say, “I feel like an anxious wreck whenever I have to make a decision.”
  • Another might express, “The pressure of exams has turned me into an anxious wreck.”

14. Agitated

When someone is “agitated,” it means they are feeling restless, unsettled, or on edge. It can also refer to a state of irritability or frustration.

  • For instance, “I can’t sit still, I’m so agitated.”
  • A person might say, “I feel really agitated when I’m running late.”
  • Another might express, “The constant noise in the city makes me feel agitated.”

15. Strung out

To be “strung out” means to be physically and emotionally exhausted, often as a result of prolonged stress or anxiety. It can also refer to a state of feeling overwhelmed or drained.

  • For example, “I’ve been working long hours, and I feel totally strung out.”
  • A person might say, “I feel so strung out from all the responsibilities.”
  • Another might express, “The constant pressure has me feeling strung out all the time.”

16. Strung up

This phrase is used to describe someone who is feeling extremely anxious or tense.

  • For example, “I have a big presentation tomorrow and I’m really strung up about it.”
  • A person might say, “I’ve been feeling strung up all day, I can’t relax.”
  • Another might say, “I always get strung up before flying, even though I know it’s safe.”

17. Keyed up

This phrase is used to describe someone who is feeling highly anxious or on edge.

  • For instance, “I’m really keyed up about the job interview tomorrow.”
  • A person might say, “I always get keyed up before a big event.”
  • Another might say, “I can’t sleep because I’m too keyed up.”

18. Jumpy

This term is used to describe someone who is feeling anxious and is easily startled.

  • For example, “I’ve been feeling really jumpy lately, even the slightest noise makes me jump.”
  • A person might say, “I always feel jumpy when I’m in crowded places.”
  • Another might say, “I get jumpy when I’m waiting for important news.”

19. High-strung

This term is used to describe someone who is easily agitated or anxious.

  • For instance, “She’s always been high-strung, even the smallest things stress her out.”
  • A person might say, “I can’t handle being around high-strung people, they make me anxious.”
  • Another might say, “I need to find ways to relax and calm down, I’m always high-strung.”

20. Twitchy

This term is used to describe someone who is feeling nervous or anxious, often resulting in involuntary movements or tics.

  • For example, “I’ve been feeling really twitchy lately, I can’t sit still.”
  • A person might say, “Whenever I’m in a stressful situation, I get twitchy.”
  • Another might say, “I hate public speaking, it always makes me feel twitchy.”

21. Edgy

When someone is feeling “edgy,” they are experiencing a state of anxiety or nervousness. It can also refer to a feeling of being on edge or easily irritated.

  • For example, “I’ve been feeling really edgy lately, I think it’s because of all the stress at work.”
  • A person might say, “I get really edgy when I have to speak in public.”
  • Another might describe their mood as, “I’m feeling so edgy today, I don’t know why.”

22. Stressed to the max

To be “stressed to the max” means to be under an extreme amount of stress or pressure. It implies a high level of anxiety and can be used to describe feeling overwhelmed.

  • For instance, “I have so much work to do, I’m stressed to the max.”
  • A person might say, “I can’t handle any more stress, I’m already stressed to the max.”
  • Another might describe their situation as, “I’ve got exams, work deadlines, and family issues – I’m just stressed to the max right now.”

23. Anxious mess

When someone is described as an “anxious mess,” it means they are feeling a high level of anxiety or stress and are struggling to cope. It suggests a state of being overwhelmed and unable to function effectively.

  • For example, “I have so much going on right now, I’m just an anxious mess.”
  • A person might say, “I can’t seem to calm down, I feel like an anxious mess.”
  • Another might describe themselves as, “I’m usually pretty organized, but lately I’ve been an anxious mess.”

24. Fretting

To “fret” means to worry or feel anxious about something. It implies a state of unease or concern and can be used to describe someone who is experiencing anxiety.

  • For instance, “I’ve been fretting about the upcoming presentation.”
  • A person might say, “I can’t stop fretting about what might happen.”
  • Another might describe their thoughts as, “I’m constantly fretting about the future.”

25. Overthinking

When someone is “overthinking,” it means they are engaging in excessive or obsessive thinking about a particular subject or situation. It often leads to increased anxiety and can make it difficult to make decisions or take action.

  • For example, “I tend to overthink things and it just makes me more anxious.”
  • A person might say, “I can’t stop overthinking every little detail.”
  • Another might describe their thought process as, “I’m constantly overthinking and it’s exhausting.”

26. Cold sweat

When someone is experiencing anxiety, they may start to sweat profusely, even if it’s not hot or they’re not physically exerting themselves. This is often referred to as a “cold sweat”.

  • For example, “Whenever I have to speak in public, I break out in a cold sweat.”
  • A person describing their anxiety might say, “I get these cold sweats whenever I have to make an important decision.”
  • Someone sharing their experience with anxiety might say, “The cold sweats are one of the worst symptoms for me.”

27. Heart racing

When someone is feeling anxious, their heart rate may increase significantly. This can feel like their heart is racing or beating faster than usual.

  • For instance, “Every time I have to take a test, my heart starts racing.”
  • A person describing their anxiety might say, “I can’t control my heart racing when I’m in a crowded place.”
  • Someone sharing their experience with anxiety might say, “My heart racing is a constant reminder of my anxiety.”

28. Mind racing

Anxiety can cause a person’s mind to race with thoughts. These thoughts may be negative, repetitive, or overwhelming, making it difficult for the person to focus or relax.

  • For example, “I couldn’t fall asleep last night because my mind was racing with worries.”
  • A person describing their anxiety might say, “My mind is always racing with what-ifs and worst-case scenarios.”
  • Someone sharing their experience with anxiety might say, “It’s exhausting to have my mind constantly racing like this.”

29. Paranoia

Paranoia is a state of heightened fear or suspicion, often caused by anxiety. People experiencing paranoia may believe that others are out to harm them or that they are being watched or judged.

  • For instance, “Whenever I’m in a crowded place, I feel this overwhelming sense of paranoia.”
  • A person describing their anxiety might say, “My anxiety often leads to paranoia, and I can’t shake the feeling that something bad is going to happen.”
  • Someone sharing their experience with anxiety might say, “The constant paranoia is one of the most distressing aspects of my anxiety.”

30. Nervous Nelly

“Nervous Nelly” is a slang term used to describe someone who is always anxious or nervous. It is often used in a lighthearted or affectionate manner.

  • For example, “I’m such a Nervous Nelly when it comes to flying.”
  • A person describing their anxiety might say, “I’ve always been a Nervous Nelly, even in the simplest situations.”
  • Someone sharing their experience with anxiety might say, “Being a Nervous Nelly has become a part of my identity, but I’m working on managing my anxiety.”

31. Nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs

This phrase describes someone who is feeling extremely anxious or nervous, as if they are in a situation where they are constantly on edge and expecting something bad to happen.

  • For example, “I have a big presentation tomorrow and I’m nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.”
  • Another example could be, “Whenever I have to speak in public, I feel as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.”
  • Someone might say, “I always get nervous before a job interview, I feel like a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.”

32. Worrywart

This term refers to a person who constantly worries or frets about every little thing, even when there may not be a reason to worry.

  • For instance, “My mom is such a worrywart, she always thinks something bad is going to happen.”
  • Another example could be, “I’m a bit of a worrywart, I always double-check everything to make sure nothing goes wrong.”
  • Someone might say, “I can’t help being a worrywart, it’s just part of who I am.”

33. Wigging out

This phrase is used to describe someone who is experiencing a panic attack or extreme anxiety, often characterized by intense fear, restlessness, and a feeling of being overwhelmed.

  • For example, “I was wigging out before my final exam, I couldn’t stop shaking.”
  • Another example could be, “She started wigging out when she realized she left her phone at home.”
  • Someone might say, “I have a fear of flying, so I always start wigging out when I have to board a plane.”

34. Having a meltdown

This phrase describes someone who is experiencing a complete breakdown or loss of control due to extreme stress or anxiety.

  • For instance, “I had a meltdown at work today because I had so much on my plate.”
  • Another example could be, “After a long day, I sometimes have a meltdown and just cry for no reason.”
  • Someone might say, “I could tell she was having a meltdown because she was yelling and throwing things.”

35. Tense as a cat on a hot tin roof

This phrase is used to describe someone who is feeling extremely anxious or on edge, as if they are in a situation where they feel uncomfortable and restless.

  • For example, “I was as tense as a cat on a hot tin roof waiting for the test results.”
  • Another example could be, “She’s always tense as a cat on a hot tin roof when she has to speak in front of a large crowd.”
  • Someone might say, “I can’t relax in unfamiliar situations, I’m always as tense as a cat on a hot tin roof.”

36. High strung

This term describes someone who is constantly on edge or easily stressed. It implies a heightened state of tension or anxiety.

  • For example, “She’s always high strung, even over the smallest things.”
  • In a discussion about personality traits, someone might say, “I tend to be high strung and worry about everything.”
  • A friend might comment, “You need to relax and stop being so high strung all the time.”

37. Nervous Nellie

This term is used to describe a person who is always nervous or easily frightened. It is often used in a lighthearted or teasing manner.

  • For instance, “Don’t be such a nervous Nellie, it’s just a little thunder.”
  • In a conversation about fears, someone might say, “I’m a total nervous Nellie when it comes to spiders.”
  • A friend might joke, “You’re such a nervous Nellie, you jump at every little noise.”

38. Anxious as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs

This phrase vividly illustrates a state of extreme anxiety. It suggests a feeling of being overwhelmed and constantly on edge.

  • For example, “I was as anxious as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs before my job interview.”
  • In a discussion about stress, someone might say, “I feel anxious as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs whenever I have a deadline.”
  • A person might describe their anxiety by saying, “I’m always anxious as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, even in calm situations.”

39. Fidgety

This term describes someone who is constantly moving or unable to stay in one place. It is often associated with nervousness or anxiety.

  • For instance, “He’s always fidgety during meetings, constantly tapping his foot.”
  • In a conversation about body language, someone might say, “Crossing and uncrossing your legs repeatedly can make you appear fidgety.”
  • A friend might comment, “You seem fidgety today, is everything okay?”

40. Unease

This term refers to a general sense of uneasiness or mild anxiety. It suggests a lack of ease or peace of mind.

  • For example, “I couldn’t shake the feeling of unease during the thunderstorm.”
  • In a discussion about social situations, someone might say, “Large crowds always give me a sense of unease.”
  • A person might express their unease by saying, “I have a constant sense of unease that I can’t explain.”

41. Anxious AF

This phrase is an abbreviation of “Anxious as F***” and is used to describe someone who is feeling extremely anxious or stressed.

  • For example, “I have a big presentation tomorrow and I’m anxious AF.”
  • Someone might say, “I’m going on a blind date tonight and I’m feeling anxious AF.”
  • Another person might comment, “I get anxious AF when I have to speak in public.”

42. Under pressure

This phrase is used to describe someone who is feeling stressed or anxious due to a particular situation or circumstance.

  • For instance, “I have a lot of work deadlines coming up and I’m really under pressure.”
  • Someone might say, “I’m under pressure to perform well in this competition.”
  • Another person might comment, “I always feel under pressure when I have to give a presentation.”

43. The heebie-jeebies

This phrase is used to describe a general feeling of unease or anxiety, often accompanied by a physical sensation.

  • For example, “That horror movie gave me the heebie-jeebies.”
  • Someone might say, “I always get the heebie-jeebies when I have to fly.”
  • Another person might comment, “Walking alone at night gives me the heebie-jeebies.”

44. The willies

This phrase is used to describe a feeling of nervousness or unease, often in response to something creepy or unsettling.

  • For instance, “That haunted house gave me the willies.”
  • Someone might say, “I always get the willies when I have to speak in front of a large audience.”
  • Another person might comment, “The sound of nails on a chalkboard gives me the willies.”

45. The shakes

This phrase is used to describe the physical sensation of trembling or shaking that can occur as a result of anxiety or nervousness.

  • For example, “I get the shakes before a big test.”
  • Someone might say, “Public speaking always gives me the shakes.”
  • Another person might comment, “I had the shakes before my job interview.”

46. The collywobbles

The collywobbles is a slang term used to describe a feeling of nervousness or butterflies in the stomach. It is often associated with anxiety or fear.

  • For example, “I have the collywobbles before every big presentation.”
  • Another example, “The thought of speaking in public gives me the collywobbles.”
  • Someone might say, “I get the collywobbles whenever I have to make a phone call.”

47. The yips

The yips is a slang term used to describe a loss of fine motor skills, typically seen in sports, as a result of anxiety or nervousness. It often leads to a sudden inability to perform certain movements or actions.

  • For instance, “He had the yips and couldn’t make a simple putt.”
  • In a discussion about golf, one might say, “Many golfers struggle with the yips at some point in their career.”
  • A sports commentator might mention, “The yips can be mentally and physically debilitating for athletes.”

48. The jitters

The jitters is a slang term used to describe a feeling of nervousness or anxiety. It is often characterized by restlessness, unease, or a sense of anticipation.

  • For example, “I always get the jitters before a job interview.”
  • Another example, “The jitters often accompany stage fright.”
  • Someone might say, “I can’t shake these jitters before my performance.”

49. The creeps

The creeps is a slang term used to describe a feeling of discomfort or anxiety. It is often associated with a sense of unease or fear, particularly in response to something unsettling or eerie.

  • For instance, “That horror movie gave me the creeps.”
  • In a discussion about personal boundaries, one might say, “Being touched without consent can give someone the creeps.”
  • A person describing a strange encounter might say, “I had a weird experience that really gave me the creeps.”

50. The wobbles

The wobbles is a slang term used to describe a feeling of being unsteady or uncertain. It can refer to both physical and emotional instability, often associated with anxiety or nervousness.

  • For example, “I get the wobbles when I have to speak in public.”
  • Another example, “The wobbles often accompany a bout of stage fright.”
  • Someone might say, “I can’t concentrate because I have the wobbles.”
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