Stress and anxiety are social, medical and psychological problems that require urgent social attention. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), some 260 million people around the world suffer from some type of problem associated with anxiety. The pathological variant of this spectrum (generalized anxiety disorder or GAD) has a prevalence of 5%, or in other words, 5 out of every 100 people at any given time and place suffer from chronic anxiety for 6 months or more.
Anxiety is not only a physiological state that causes certain unpleasant sensations, but it also translates into physical symptoms.. For example, the cortisol released during moments of continued nervousness acts as an immunosuppressant, which leads to a greater vulnerability of the patient to infections. Prolonged stress also promotes sudden movements in the intestinal muscles, so abdominal pain is a very common symptom in these conditions.
From sleep problems to physical weakness, nerves can manifest in the individual in many ways. Luckily, this state can be shortened: Discover with us 5 habits to learn to control your nerves in your daily life.
- Related article: “Types of stress and their triggers”
Control your nerves through new habits
Nervousness is defined as a temporary state of nervous excitement. When we find ourselves in an extreme situation (whether physical or emotional), the hormone adrenaline acts on the body, increasing heart rate, constricting blood vessels, dilating airways and participating in the fight reaction of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS).
For its part, cortisol promotes the metabolism of lipids, carbohydrates and proteins, depresses the immune system and increases blood glucose levels. In the short or medium term, these hormones prepare us to sharpen our senses, flee or fight in a moment of danger. As you see, the physiological basis of the nerves is completely normal at an evolutionary level: the body prepares us for a difficult moment.
In any case, if this condition occurs in a sustained or excessively powerful manner, it can become a problem. To avoid reaching the limit of chronicity, it is important to adopt habits that allow you to control your nerves more easily.
During physical exercise, endorphins are released that cause well-being. Besides, Due to the concentration required to maintain breathing and physical rhythm, sport helps patients break negative thought cycles that are generating nerves and anxiety in the first instance.
It should be noted that nervousness can translate into unconscious hyperventilation (breathing faster than normal), something known as respiratory anxiety. Exercising helps to normalize the rate of breaths per minute, since it is necessary to control the respiratory rate perfectly during physical activity to avoid running out of air. As you exercise, you become aware of your own breathing and modulate it.
2. Reduce your caffeine consumption
Caffeine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant alkaloid.. This compound increases blood pressure, acts as a diuretic (helps with urination), promotes the release of acid in the stomach and, above all, through nerve stimulation it makes the patient feel more awake temporarily.
According to the WHO, it is not appropriate to consume more than 300 milligrams of caffeine per day, the equivalent of 2 coffees. Higher amounts can promote continued stress and nervousness, restlessness, dizziness, palpitations and headaches. It is never recommended to consume more than 400 mg of caffeine per day.
- You may be interested: “The 3 most important psychological effects of caffeine”
3. Control your breathing
Hyperventilation occurs when the act of breathing removes more carbon dioxide from the blood than metabolism produces, giving rise to a clinical state known as hypocapnia. Although it is well tolerated by the body, the changes in blood pH that this state entails can translate into respiratory alkalosis, which occurs in the form of dizziness, blurred vision, weakness and even fainting.
In moments of a panic attack (when hyperventilation is very rapid), the patient is usually given a bag to breathe into., since this way you will incorporate more CO2 into your body with each respiratory rate (when breathing already inspired air). In case the situation is not so serious but you still feel too fast, it is always a good idea to lie down, close your eyes and count the number of breaths per minute. The normal rate is 8 to 16 respiratory cycles every 60 seconds.
4. Write your feelings
Something as simple as writing down your feelings on paper helps a lot to put your own emotions and feelings into perspective.
We live in our own heads (as redundant as it may sound) and, therefore, It is very difficult for us to look at the events around us from a subjective and impartial prism.. There are many biases that act in each human mental process, the one of negativity standing out above all of them: when faced with 2 events of the same intensity, the negative always weighs much more than the positive/neutral.
For this reason, writing down what you are feeling at a specific moment on a piece of paper and rereading it a while later can help a lot to identify the individual’s problems and train of thought. In addition, it will surely help the patient become aware that what was generating such nerves, in the end, was not something to worry about so much. Placing thoughts on an invariable medium like paper helps a lot to put things into perspective in the medium-long term..
- You may be interested: “Emotional labeling: what it is and what it is for in psychotherapy”
5. Don’t diagnose yourself and get used to seeking professional help
According to studies carried out in the health field, Up to 22% of health professionals with chronic stress in extreme situations somatize their symptoms. This means that, “seeking to channel emotions,” the body can suffer abnormal sensations on a physical level, such as pain in the gut, abdomen, head, and others. Up to 30% of primary care visits are due to symptoms that have no apparent cause.
Somatizing stress symptoms is normal, so if all the medical tests have gone well and the pain you feel is diffuse (it doesn’t get worse), try not to constantly self-diagnose, as you will only make your nerves worse. Thinking about the presence of an illness increases anxiety, and anxiety encourages physical symptoms to appear without a clear organic cause. It is the fish that bites the tail.
It is possible to keep your nerves at bay with a series of techniques from home, but Maybe you should ask yourself why stress and nervousness appear so intensely in the first place..
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), depression and other psychological conditions present with diffuse daily discomforts, which can be confused with “normal” or “expected” sensations. If you feel that something is wrong when it comes to controlling your emotions, the best idea in all cases is to put yourself in the hands of a psychological professional.