March 03, 2020
I can bet that everyone has gone through the motions of feeling nervous or anxious at some point. The quickening heart rate, shallow breathing and tense muscles can be an all too familiar sensations for some, and not a pleasant one at that. This reaction is our body’s natural response to what we perceive as a ‘dangerous situation’, known as the flight or fight response. So how can you help yourself to stop being nervous next time this happens?
When you are feeling nervous, take 5 minutes to find somewhere comfortable, put your hand on your chest and take a deep breath in and out. Doing this action will allow you to slow your breathing, slow your heart rate and focus your mind on the here and now, and away from what is making you nervous. While you are inhaling and exhaling deeply, concentrate on the feeling of your clothes against your skin, how your heart feels beneath your chest and the sounds and smells around you. This will centre you and allow you to feel grounded once more. You can read our blog ‘What are the benefits of deep breathing’ for more information here.
When you are feeling nervous about something, rationalizing the situation will allow you to put your worries into perspective. “Will this likely happen”, “is this a rational thought”, “what’s the worst that can happen and can I handle that?”. This will quieten any irrational fears you have and help you to feel more confident about the situation.
When you are experiencing a panic attack it can feel very scary with your heart racing, breath quickening and muscles tensing. It can even be scarier than the thing you were worried about in the first place. When this is happening it is important to relabel what is happening to your body. It is a natural physical flight or fight response that is not dangerous and will pass. Your body will soon run out of adrenaline reserves and the panic attack will fade.
If you can, getting some light exercise when you are feeling nervous can help you to stay calm. It is a healthy distraction that will refocus your mind and allow you to channel the extra adrenaline you have building inside of you.
Aromatherapy is a very powerful tool for helping mental health. At Scentered we have created a De-Stress Aromatherapy Balm that can be rubbed onto your pulse points anytime you need help calming your mind. As your skin warms the essential oils, their sweet aromas are released. Close your eyes, inhale deeply and focus on the fragrance notes. This action, combined with the beneficial effects of the essential oils will help you to stay calm and de-stress in nervous situations.
Music can have a dramatic effect on our mood, from putting on your favourite dance track to lift your spirits, to playing the calming sounds of the ocean to help you sleep. Music can also be the perfect tool for helping you to stop nervousness and shoo away those pesky butterflies in your stomach. Plug in your earphones and blast a Beyonce track to feel empowered or listen to a soothing acoustic track to relax your mind. Whatever you prefer, and whatever works for you.
Distraction, it works! When you are in a situation that is making you feel nervous or anxious, distraction can be your best friend. When you feel nervous you are focusing intently on that one thing, ‘what if this happens?’ ‘What if that happens?’. Distracting yourself will allow you to shift your focus onto something calming and more positive. Talk to your friend about a silly topic, play a game on your phone or try to recite the alphabet backwards.
When you get nervous you may not notice in the moment, but all of your muscles become tense as part of a fight or flight response. Next time you find yourself in a nervous situation, start from the top of your body, feel your muscles, and consciously relax them. Relax your eyebrows, un-clench your jaw, lower your shoulders.... By relaxing your body you are reassuring yourself that there is nothing to fear.
Expressing how you feel to a trusted friend or loved one can ease your nerves. Knowing that someone is aware of how you feel can be comforting and open up a conversation about what is making you nervous, and why you feel that way. The chances are they have probably Googled ‘how to stop being nervous’ too and have some pointers on how they stay calm that you could also try.
A lung full of fresh air could be just what you need to stay calm. The act of taking a deep breath in itself is calming, but combined with the breeze and the cool sensation on your skin you will instantly feel a sense of relief.
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