I’m Nervous: Strategies for Handling Nervousness

Are you anxious, agitated, or afraid? These techniques can help you relax, stay in the moment, and manage anxiety, even though anxiety can sometimes make you feel imprisoned in your own thoughts.


Why am I tense?

There are many different causes of anxiety. For example, the night before a big test, an early flight, or a job interview, you can feel restless and find it difficult to sleep. Alternatively, you can have nausea while considering attending a party and mingling with strangers, or you might become physically uncomfortable when comparing your bank balance to the steadily increasing bills.

There are moments when it seems like you are anxious, tense, and irritable for no apparent reason. Even if it’s not always evident, there’s generally a cause for panic and anxiety attacks.

Uncertainty is a common precursor to anxiety. Your brain begins fabricating stories—usually unpleasant ones—when it senses that there is insufficient data to make a forecast. For example, it may ask, “Will my companion return safely? They could be involved in a collision.

“Am I ready to give this speech? I could lose my train of thought.

“Will I be liked by everyone at this party? Perhaps I’ll say something dumb, or they’ll all treat me badly.

Anxiety causes your body to biologically trigger the stress response, which releases stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This stress reaction is not very excellent at adapting to the current environment, even though it can be very helpful in keeping you safe during actual danger. Hence, whether you’re on a first date or you’re in danger of losing your life, you experience tension and anxiety.

Numerous health issues, such as headaches, sleeplessness, nausea, and trouble concentrating, can be brought on by anxiety. Anxiety attacks on a regular basis might also have more subtle effects on your life. You might stay away from such locations rather than enter a crowded elevator, for example. If you want to avoid merging on a congested highway, you might also take a longer route.

Although everyone experiences worry occasionally, a lot of us are annoyed by how frequently it appears in our daily lives. Worries that you won’t be able to stop it when it comes on suddenly, like during a panic attack, can exacerbate your anxiety. But, it’s crucial to keep in mind that there are numerous practical techniques you may employ to ease your worry, embrace ambiguity, and calm your nerves—even when these emotions seem overwhelming and uncontrollable.

First anxiety-reduction tip: Determine your anxiety triggers to foretell anxiety

While anxiety is fairly prevalent, different people are more or less likely to experience the same kinds of conditions that make them anxious. By taking a time to consider what triggers you personally, you may better anticipate when anxiety may arise and plan how to handle it when it occurs.

Among the most frequent causes of worry are striking up a conversation and meeting new people.

delivering quality work or education.

being by oneself.

Taking care of your money.

Considering accidents or diseases.

confronting acquaintances and relatives among others.

Making errors and attempting new things.

Certain environments, such crowded rooms, cramped quarters, or high places, might make some people anxious.

Recognize the physical symptoms of your anxiety

Think about your anxiety and stress triggers as well as the physical manifestations of these emotions. Even when your usual triggers are absent and you seem to be experiencing anxiety for no apparent reason, being aware of your physical symptoms can help you identify and manage your anxiety.

Listen to your intuition. Anxiety can frequently manifest as stomach cramps or nausea. Or your hunger can completely disappear.

Check for tense muscles in various body areas. A tight jaw, tense shoulders, or a throbbing neck are common signs of anxiety.

Become aware of your breathing. When anxiety increases, you could notice that your breathing becomes shallower. Or you might get tight and hold your breath.

After determining your triggers and bodily indicators, take a deeper look at your coping strategies and see whether you automatically turn to any harmful ones. For instance, your muscles may tense up in social circumstances, and you may begin to binge drink in an attempt to decompress and reduce anxiety.

As a homework assignment, record your:

causes of anxiety. When and where you typically experience anxiety.

physical signs and symptoms. How your body reacts to anxiety.

unhealthy ways to cope. Any harmful or ineffective methods you’ve tried to manage your anxiety.

It is simpler to deal with the effects of anxiety when you have a better understanding of when and how it strikes.

Consult a Qualified Therapist

BetterHelp is an online counseling program that connects you with certified, licensed therapists that specialize in treating anxiety, depression, relationships, and other issues. After completing the assessment, you can find a therapist in as short as 48 hours.

Make an assessment.

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Tip 2: Exercise to release tension

Engaging in physical activity releases endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin, which are brain chemicals that help people decompress. These substances can rapidly elevate your energy level, reduce anxiety, and improve your mood.

[Read: Exercise’s Beneficial Effects on Mental Health]

Exercise in short bursts will assist reduce stress in the present; you can start doing it immediately to feel less nervous. Engage in whatever makes you happy and convenient, such as:

Take a little jog or walk.

Perform some jumping jacks.

Practice some asanas.

Join your child in dancing.

Have fun with your pet.

Over time, consistent physical activity is also beneficial. Whatever your level of fitness, regular exercise can help you manage stress and reduce your chance of developing an anxiety disorder, according to research. Additionally, it might help you feel more confident and stop the daily worries that run through your mind.

Aim for 150 minutes of moderately intense exercise or at least 75 minutes of vigorously rigorous exercise per week.

Tip 3: Stay in the current moment by using your senses.

It can be hard to escape your own thoughts when you’re anxious. You’re thinking about previous mistakes or fixating on the future, and your mind is racing. Try to anchor yourself in the certainties of the present moment rather than dwelling on the unknowns of the days ahead or circumstances beyond your control. This can help you center on what’s in front of you by breaking up your racing thoughts.

To stay in the now and reduce tension and anxiety, use your senses:

Examine your surroundings. What observes do you? Think on the shadows being cast and the light sources around. Perhaps you spot a couple sharing a seat on a bench. Examine their nonverbal cues.

Make use of your ears. What sounds do you perceive? Perhaps there’s a song on the radio. Make an effort to identify the instruments. Take pleasure in humming or singing along to the tunes.

Take in a scent. Smell the flowers nearby or light a candle.

Taste your food or beverage. Chew on a piece of gum or take sips of hot tea. Which flavor is it?

Make use of your tactile sense. Give your cat a pet. Self-rub your hands or neck. Examine the fabric of your clothes.

It’s possible that some sensory experiences are more effective than others. Try a few different things to find what works best for calming your anxiety and refocusing your attention on the here and now.

Maintaining equilibrium during working out

Exercise and mindfulness or grounding practices can be combined. Whichever activity you choose, make an effort to concentrate on the sensations:

As you dance or stroll outside, take in the sensation of the sun’s warmth on your skin and the sound of the music.

When you run, feel your chest rise and fall; when you cycle, feel the beat of your legs.

You can stop your mind from racing and reduce your anxiety by engaging with your senses.

Tip 4: Approach anxiety mindfully

Your first instinct may be to resist or repress your feelings when you sense worry starting to rise. You may even come to the conclusion that it’s best to just stay away from your triggers, which may include public speaking engagements, heights, or groups of people.

But mindfulness can offer an alternative course of action. Developing a more attentive interaction with your ideas, feelings, and experiences is part of the mindful approach. Rather of attempting to suppress or avoid your anxiety, try to become nonjudgmental about it. After that, you can start to replace your anxiety with curiosity, a much more fulfilling mental state.

Dr. Judson Brewer recommends that you view curiosity as a superpower in his book Unwinding Anxiety. Curiosity, as opposed to anxiety, makes you feel present and open. It can assist you in breaking free from worrying patterns and navigating anxiety waves.

Try practicing mindfulness using Brewer’s RAIN approach the next time you’re feeling nervous:

Determine when your anxiety started. Once more, it’s beneficial to be somewhat aware of your own unique anxiety symptoms and physical manifestations.

Let the emotion wash over you. Instead of trying to get rid of your anxiety, take a moment to stop and accept it.

Examine the growing anxiety wave. Here, curiosity is crucial. Take an interest in the anxiety symptoms that you are most familiar with. Is there any tightness in your jaw? Which side is it on your face? Are your mind aflutter with ideas? What’s on your mind?

Take note of the feelings. Avoid attempting to analyze, judge, or solve your uneasiness. Alternatively, just give your feelings a name. This can assist you in maintaining awareness. By dealing with your worry in this way, you’ll eventually find that the wave passes.

According to research, “affect labeling,” or verbalizing your emotional experiences, can assist you in controlling your emotions during stressful situations. 

February 21, 2024

Freya Parker

Freya Parker lives in Sydney and writes about cars. She's really good at explaining car stuff in simple words. She studied at a good university in Melbourne. Freya started her career at Auto Trader, where she learned a lot about buying and selling cars. She also works with We Buy Cars in South Africa and some small car businesses in Australia.

What makes her special is that she cares about the environment. She likes to talk about how cars affect the world. Freya writes in a friendly way that helps people understand cars better. That's why many people in the car industry like to listen to her.
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