Nervousness occurs in a variety of life situations: before or during some critical events, at the moment of tedious waiting, when communicating with people.
In this post I will tell you how to stop being nervous, what are the methods of controlling nervousness.
Nervousness can be caused by both physiological and psychological causes.
Causes of Nervousness and Anxiety
Physiological causes occur when nervousness is caused by our physical health state. For example, our fatigue level can affect our nervousness level. Nervousness may arise from hunger, lack of vitamins, lack of sleep.
Psychological causes of nervousness are connected with the psychological state. Lack of self-confidence, pessimism, shyness, feelings of uncertainty, fear of failure – all these can become causes of nervousness.
Very often these two types of causes appear along with one another which is why, an integrated approach aimed at work with both causes is needed in order to stop being nervous.
It is important to understand that nervousness is caused by internal factors more than by external conditions.
Nervousness is our response to what’s happening around us. And the way we respond to depends mainly on us.
That is why different people respond differently to the same situations. Someone gets nervous when talking to a few people, but someone remains calm when he has to deliver a presentation in front of a huge crowd.
Of course, there are situations that will make both of them be nervous. We cannot always influence the run of these events, but we can improve what we have inside to change the response to the events of the external world: stop being nervous and worry over nothing.
You cannot always avoid stressful situations. For this, you will have not to go to work, not to drive a car and not to leave the house at all. Stress accompanies every human life, and there’s no escaping. Therefore we will refine ourselves.
Some people may think that being nervous and worrying in front of people during important meetings – it’s natural, “normal.” People who used to get nervous and take it as a norm think this way. But it is not so: anxiety is not a norm. By refining yourself you can get rid of nervousness and feel yourself much calmer in stressful situations.
It’s the first thing you have to understand, before we go further.
There is no Point in Being Nervous
The second thing you have to understand is that there is no point to be troubled and nervous.
Despite the fact that nervousness or anxiety, like fear, can manifest themselves as protective mechanisms that make us respond to potentially dangerous situations – most often these states get an absurd form.
For example, this happens in those cases when we are nervous in front of people or worried before the interview. After all, these situations are not dangerous; therefore there is no need to worry!
Any man is more self-collected, organized and his mind works better in those moments when he is quiet and keeps himself well in hand.
When we are nervous, we find it hard to concentrate and think. We splutter and our body begins showing unnecessary physical activity. If we go on a job interview or some meeting, it can greatly interfere.
We may forget something important. Because of unexpected questions we will have our brain freeze. Besides the appearance of a nervous person: inconsistent tone, moving pupils, sharp gestures – all these can adversely affect the impression, which the man makes on the others.
A constant and chronic nervousness badly influences your health and manifests the cause of many diseases.
Anxiety gives us nothing; it only hinders our development. Therefore, we should get rid of it and we can do it.
My own Experience
Previously, I was a very nervous person myself and I was constantly worried at the slightest pretext. My palms were heavily sweating during the stress, I could not relax, I always got lost in my thoughts and I faltered.
My habit of being nervous brought me a lot of problems in communication, in study, in work and in decision-making.
Some time passed and I began to keep myself well in hand, because I refined myself. I stopped worrying during interviews. I can calmly conduct a presentation in front of several people. I do not have my brain freeze because of unexpected questions.
Of course, I am not a Buddhist monk and not a self-control champion, but I became quieter, and because of that, a lot of things in my life have changed for the better. The most important thing is that I have gained more control over myself and over a situation.
I’ve got the feeling like I managed something and I was not a stooge for my own feelings and external circumstances. This new feeling was very pleasant and I recommend everyone to experience it.
And if I still believe that being nervous is “normal”, that’s the way I am and I cannot do anything about it – I would have never achieved any results at all.
Practiсe – Tips and Advice
The practical part of the article will consist of several parts:
- Preparation – What you need to do to prepare your body for a possible stress and be less nervous, for example, during an important meeting.
- Self-control on a real time basis – How to control yourself in a stressful situation
- Dealing with the consequences – How to calm down after the stress
- Prophylactic Treatment – How to teach your body not to respond to stress
If you are nervous before some important event or activity, then it is time to be prepared not to allow anxiety negatively affecting the course of events. The more self-collected and concentrated you are, the greater will your chances of success be.
This applies to job interviews, important meetings, negotiations, dates, sporting events, etc. What shall you do if you are unable to pull yourself together in front of one of such events?
Do not Dramatize
If you’re worried about something, very often this “something” appears to be a trifle, a harmless thing. Will you not take the job? So what? You will find another. Will you look ridiculous in front of people? So what? What do you care what other people will think of you?
Consider every vital issue in some context of your whole life and of extended period of time, instead of the perspective of immediate necessity. For example, you worry about that the girl you like will refuse to meet you.
So what? In a few months you will surely forget her and you will meet another girl. If you fall in love with someone, it does not mean that he/she is the person of your whole life.
Try to think about the situations that make you feel anxiety. Try to think over coolly and calmly. Many problems seem to be serious and significant, at first glance, but if you think about them better, their significance disappears at once.
Unexpected baying of dogs can scare you, but if you pull yourself together and assess the situation, it may appear that the dog is on the other side of the iron fence, attached to a chain and it barks not at you at all.
As well as human problems: suddenness can be confusing, but once you look closer, everything is getting better than it seemed to be from the very beginning.
If you are unable to reflect on the object of your worries quietly (most likely it will be so), and you are still worried and still keep the same thoughts under your hat – then do not think about the upcoming situation at all.
Keep your mind off this. It’s not all that simple: annoying thoughts will attack you again and again.
Try not to become obsessed with them, switch to something else every time they occur. The exercises given by me below will help you cope with these difficulties.
And remember, there is no sense to be nervous.
But telling yourself to calm down is not always enough, because your organism still responds to stress, as it is used to respond, no matter what you may think and no matter how you are winding yourself up. So you need to work with your body.
Relax your Whole Body
Relaxed body = a quiet mind. Yoga and many relaxation techniques are based on this principle. This truth has long been known by people who are able to control themselves.
Try to direct your attention to the muscles and relax the tension in them. If you get it, you will feel calmer and more relaxed.
Eliminate Nervous Gestures
Stop going back and forth in nervous anticipation. Stop biting your nails, running fingers through your hair, running out to smoke every 10 minutes – in a word, stop doing things your body does when you are nervous.
Sit down quietly and motionless, relax. Watch yourself.
Breathe with your Stomach
When people are nervous, they breathe with their chest. Thus, breath is increased and intermittent. In order to calm down, you should breathe smoothly with your stomach at regular intervals. The technique is used in traditional medicine, as well as in ancient practices like yoga. The so-called diaphragmatic breathing has long been proven to be effective.
After a smoked cigarette a smoker feels relaxation, not only because of the nicotine action. He inhales and exhales slowly, thereby he stabilizes his breath and he calms down.
Take the advantage of this effect, but without cigarettes.
How to breathe with your diaphragm? Sitting in a quiet and motionless posture, place your hand on your stomach (this is necessary for self-control; later, when you will learn the technique, you will have to do it no more).
You have to breathe in and out at equal time duration. For example, inhale 5 seconds – exhale 5 seconds. You can hold your breath between inhalation and exhalation. Inhale – 5 seconds, holding the breath – 2 seconds, exhale – 5 seconds, holding the breath – 2 seconds.
Do the exercises with or without delays – as you wish. The hand, which lies on your stomach, goes up and down in time with your stomach movement, while chest remains motionless. It is important!
When you will learn to breathe with stomach, there will be no necessary to keep your hand on it (stomach).
Try to keep the attention on breath and on intervals between inhalation and exhalation. Do not be distracted by foreign thoughts and silently count to yourself.
A single session can last from 2 to 5 minutes, and can take longer depending on your feelings.
This is a very effective exercise that always helps me when I want to calm down and pull myself together. Try doing it when you are strained, feel the instant relaxation that the simple practice gives to you!
Self-control on a Real Time Basis
So, all eyes are on you. During an event, job interview or a meeting you do not always have the opportunity to sit down, relax and try to pull yourself together. You need to speak and answer to the questions in a timely manner. What shall you do in such situations?
Watch your facial expressions, gestures and intonation
Watch your body. Make sure that your movements are glide, speech tempo is constant and facial muscles are relaxed. If you notice that you began to speak quickly or make too many sudden movements, stop yourself.
Your goal is to make sure that your appearance expresses complete serenity. The inner tranquility creates the exterior one, and vice versa. The quieter your posture and facial expression are, the quieter you are inside. Human emotions are connected with the body by a positive feedback.
That is why people are advised to smile more often: if a person tries to portray some emotion on his face, then he begins to feel that emotion. You can check it by yourself. Smile to someone!
Why you need to watch yourself? Because when you watch your body and its movements and when you try to control them, you remain alert for what is going on inside you.
As though, you keep your mind away from emotions by changing it to the position of an outside observer. This is a good way to keep some distance between your true ego and feelings of the present moment. It allows you to keep your concentration and tranquility.
Some emotional storm may rage within you, but your mind will still be quiet. Perhaps it is difficult to understand by those who have never experienced it. But this ability comes with practice of self-control.
Take your Time
Haste never brings to good. It is able to provoke nervousness and distracted attention. Haste is the need to do something quickly, but, as a rule, it does not have any positive impact on the speed of particular task implementation.
When you rush, you start fussing, abruptly switching from one subject to another. In this state, you can easily forget something, not to finish some business, leaving it for another task. This will negatively affect the result quality.
Therefore, do not hurry, even if time is running out and someone hurry you up (this is done by those people who do not understand that one should not hurry). Do everything in your natural speed: quietly, measured and collected.
Carefully prepare for your performances, do not hurry to answer the questions as soon as possible, your speech should not be very fast.
Dealing with the Consequences
Everything is over! Relax and do not forget about the subjunctive “if” (“if I spoke better”, “if it had not slipped my mind”). If you failed to pull yourself together and you were very worried, in spite of all your efforts – do not be upset.
Self-control is not an easy task and requires a long and hard work on yourself. Analyze your mistakes, but do not dwell on them.
Relax and clean up your breath. Diaphragmatic breathing will help you relieve nervous tension.
It is not enough to be able to suppress the nervousness attacks, it would be better if you become less nervous at all. For this, you shall carry out regular preventive measures.
Follow the Sleep Schedule
Permanent lack of sleep badly affect your health and, in particular, your nervous system. Make sure you sleep at least 8 hours each day. It is desirable to sleep in one and the same time. The main principle is regularity and proper duration.
More than 8 hours sleep is not recommended as well.
Compliance with the sleep schedule does wonders! It makes you more energetic, alert and increases your resistance to stress.
Eat Healthy Food
Eat a balanced and varied food. Your body needs to get a full range of vitamins. Eat less fried and fast food. Use more food that contains the necessary substances for your nervous system (magnesium, vitamin B, zinc, antioxidants): wholegrain food, nuts, various fruits and vegetables.
Drink more water. Dehydration can provoke a stress.
Be engaged in physical activity
Move more, and spend your time outdoors as much as possible. Try to rest from the computer when you have such opportunity.
Go in for sports. Sport strengthens the body and relieves tension and stress very well.
Meditate, Practise Yoga
First, a single session of meditation helps you relax very well. Second, regular practice increases your resistance to stress.
That is why the imperturbable tranquility became the visiting card of a skilled yogi or of an experienced adherent of meditation.
In comparison with yoga, the newcomer will need no special place and an experienced instructor nearby in order to meditate. You can meditate anywhere. It is very easy to learn the basics of meditation and even an inexperienced person can do it.
Read more about this in my article how to meditate properly.
Get Rid of Bad Habits
Despite the fact that smoking and alcohol can calm you down for a short time, the substances contained in cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs adversely affect your nervous system.
The more and more often you use alcohol and other drugs, the more your body is subjected to stress in daily life. Drink less coffee! Caffeine triggers the release of stress hormones in your body.
Try not to Create Stressful Situations by Yourself
When I was at university, I always squandered the study time. At the examination time I was totally unprepared and knew nothing. I was hoping that I’m lucky, that I will be able to write off or pass the examination in any original way.
In such a situation you can be sure of nothing. Because of my lack of responsibility, every time I risked my expulsion from the university. Such prospects make you very nervous. Each examination turned into a big hassle for me, because I was not prepared.
I have been guilty of having created such a stressful situation. I had the opportunity to get prepared for examinations and to attend lectures, in order to be sure of a successful test results. If I did it, I would have saved a lot of my nerve cells.
I have made the following conclusion from this story: do not create unnecessary stressful situations by yourself! Do everything in time, so you do not have to do things in a hurry and be nervous.
- Get ready for the important meetings and talks in advance, so that you could have fewer reasons to blush.
- Think ahead and always keep in mind a ready action plan. Follow the plan.
Now, I follow these rules myself. Because of this, the worries and problems of my life became fewer.
Learn How to Get Rid of Stress
Read the following article Best Ways to Relieve Stress Without Alcohol or Drugs and learn how to manage stress.
These are not the only ways to protect yourself from excessive stress. Here are several tips, which will help you:
- Less quarrel over a mere trifle, learn to resolve a conflict
- Do not conduct pointless disputes (including the Internet)
- Stop taking part in squabbles at work, let the others do it