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Why Do We Shiver When We're Cold?

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Your body is filled with millions of receptors that react to outside stimuli - from the hair on the back of your neck that stands when you get scared to the heightened heart beat you feel after seeing your crush, involuntary reactions generally operate on a complex physiological level that we seemingly can't control.

We can, however, keep some of these symptoms - such as shivering - at bay by understanding how and why they occur.

It's no secret that when you're cold, you start to shiver. You recognize those goose bumps and chills, but have you ever wondered why your body reacts in this way? 

The Science Behind Shivering
As with the majority of your body's involuntary reactions, shivers and goose bumps are an evolutionary response meant to increase humans' chances of survival. The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History explained that goose bumps are common among all mammals, not just humans. When you get cold, the hairs on your body immediately stand - this action is meant to increase your physical space and create a more pronounced layer of warmth. However, since humans are inherently a little less hairy than a large portion of other mammals, we're left with small bumps where thick hairs would stand on other species. 

Shivering operates in the same vein - according to Live Science, this action is meant to immediately warm the body as well. When your body is exposed to cold, the brain goes to work trying to find ways to make your body heat itself. Shivers are muscle contractions that stem from this response, as your body is using the heat that spurs from these quivers to keep itself warm. 

Staying Warm After the Warning
If you're at home or in the office and your body starts to shiver, unless you're watching a super scary movie, it's important to start taking steps to warm yourself. Keep a cardigan or sweater at your work desk during the day despite the weather, as even in the warmer months, your office may be blaring that A/C.

When it comes to your home, keep your living room stocked with a plush, heated blanket that can be easily plugged in and turned on to create a cozy and warm environment. Manually warm your body by wrapping up in your favorite blanket as you watch your favorite TV series and enjoy a nice cup of steaming cocoa.