Kerry Spills a Rainbow

Why Anxiety Can Lead to Extreme Clumsiness

Kerry Irvine is -quite simply- the clumsiest person I know! Of course Kerry is just a Klutz and we’ve learnt to live with her and move anything potentially dangerous from her path as she careers around the studio like a human pinball!

But is clumsiness, in some cases, a sign of another problem?

Can klutziness be cured? If episodes of clumsiness happen more frequently, how can you tell if it’s something serious — or just a temporary case of the fumbles? Our experts tell us what to look for (and not trip over) as we explore this common problem. How to relieve stress if you are a tattooist.
Extreme clumsiness isn’t necessarily an anxiety symptom, but it can occur as a result of anxiety, and for some people that clumsiness can actually reinforce their anxieties and make them afraid to be confident enough to live a normal life.
How to relieve stress if you are a tattooist

Anxiety And Stress

Your nervous system, which controls muscle movement, may function abnormally if you’re suddenly anxious or stressed. This can cause your hands to shake or impair how you see your surroundings and do tasks. As a result, you’re more likely to bump into objects or people.
If you have anxiety, or a wondering how to relieve stress if you are a tattooist. Practicing your coping methods may help you relax and improve issues with coordination.

"Coordination of the body is an extremely complicated process that involves input from both motor and sensory systems," explains Taylor Harrison, MD, clinical instructor in the neuromuscular division of the Emory University department of neurology in Atlanta.

Clumsiness = Anxiety?

Being clumsy is a normal part of life. The real question is whether or not your anxiety is affecting your happiness. Learn more about your anxiety and how to treat it forever with this free 7 minute anxiety test.

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Coping with anxiety

Avoid these triggers if possible:

  • a stressful job or work environment
  • driving or traveling
  • genetics — anxiety could run in your family
  • withdrawal from drugs or certain medications
  • side effects of certain medications
  • trauma
  • phobias, such as agoraphobia (fear of crowded or open spaces) and claustrophobia (fear of small spaces)
  • some chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, or asthma
  • chronic pain
  • having another mental illness such as depression
  • caffeine

Avoiding stress if you're a Tattooist

How to relieve stress if you are a tattooist.

It takes years of patience and determination to just get ok at it! 90% of artists put in 60 hours a week to make average pay. You have to be willing to let your life revolve around it. Your family will suffer sometimes because of your travel and travel commitments to conventions and guest spots etc. The failure rate is also immense. When you think about it for more than a second it’s pretty overwhelming. So I don’t think that it should come as a surprise that a lot of us suffer from anxiety.

The best thing to do is make sure that you're using strategies that make it harder for you to focus on your anxieties, so that being clumsy is less likely.

Over the years I’ve had full blown panic attacks at shows (which is why you’ll often see me wearing headphones under a hoody!) and I constantly have to monitor my drinking in order to make sure I don’t slip down that slope into addiction. If you find yourself reading this, read on I’ve got some advice for you based on ten years of travelling and tattooing that might help.

So, How do we Cope?

Here are my top five ways to relieve stress if you are a tattooist.

  1. Don’t over commit.

    Whether in your personal or professional life, learn your limits and set boundaries. Know when to say, “No!” Don’t take on more than you can reasonably handle.

  2. Practice relaxation techniques.

    Techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing activate the body’s relaxation response—a state of restfulness opposite of the stress response. Deep breathing is a relaxation technique that can be very helpful for controlling anxiety and reducing some of the symptoms that can create extreme clumsiness.

  3. Exercise.

    Exercise itself is actually known to be highly beneficial for anxiety, because it is linked to neurotransmitters that improve mood, tire muscles for reduced anxiety symptoms, and burn away stress hormones

  4. Practice positive thinking.

    How you think can have a profound effect on your emotional and physical well-being. People who maintain a positive attitude and practice positive thinking experience less stress than those who are pessimistic and negative.

  5. Don’t try to control the uncontrollable.

    Many things in life are beyond our control, including the behavior of other people. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control, such as how you should respond to them.

Don't just read this

I’m a tattooist and not a doctor. If you’re struggling and really want to know how to relieve stress if you are a tattooist, talk to someone and get a professional opinion. Please.



Kerry is sponsored by World Famous ink and Swashdrive Tattoo Machines which is a good thing because she spills more ink than she uses and breaks more machines than anyone I know!

What is Your Anxiety Score?

When anxiety starts to become overwhelming it may be a sign that you have moderate to severe anxiety. With this free 7 minute anxiety test, you can receive:

  • Your anxiety severity score.
  • Charts about how your anxiety compares to others.
  • Information on next steps.

Take the anxiety test today to gain better insight into your anxiety and its symptoms.

Start The Test
Here’s how our body parts work together:
  • Our eyes provide a constant stream of information about our surroundings and our position in space.
  • The brain and nerves are our command-and-control “wiring,” carrying the messages on how and where to move down to the muscles.
  • The cerebellum is the part of the brain that specializes in coordination and balance. The cerebellum “talks” constantly to other parts of the brain to maintain balance, posture, and fluid movements.
  • Muscles and bones carry out the instructions transmitted by nerves, creating movement.