How To Control Your Nerves? 10 Useful Strategies

Dry mouth, sweating, chills, stuttering, hesitationbowel movements…all these phenomena are familiar to most people when they are faced with a situation that causes high emotional tension.

And almost all of us have had an exam in which something important was at stake, a public exhibition, a date with someone we are interested in or a medical examination. When it is important to us and we are concerned about the final result, nerves make us uncomfortable and tense and can even play tricks on us, such as drawing a blank.

How to control your nerves? In this article you will find a series of recommendations that allow us to either reduce the level of nervousness or not affect our execution so much.

Nervousness: an uncomfortable but useful phenomenon

Nervousness and stress are phenomena and reactions that They tend to be distressing and unpleasant. It is logical to ask what purpose something that is so aversive to us and can degenerate into pathological reactions can be used for.

The truth is nervousness is a reaction to stimuli that we foresee will happen in the future and it represents a very adaptive advantage that allows our survival. The autonomic nervous system, specifically the sympathetic system, is responsible for this. It causes the body to activate and prepares to react to the situation that represents an emotional activation. Thanks to this we can, for example, be prepared and attentive in the exam in which we risk passing the course.

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The problem occurs when this nervousness is excessive, does not give way, or prevents or limits correct performance (such as going blank). On these occasions it can be maladaptive. This is why at high levels of tension pIt may be useful to know how to disconnect and control your nerves. Let’s see how that can be done.

Control your nerves: some strategies

Below are a series of ways and aspects to take into account to manage or control your nerves. However, one thing must be clear: these different recommendations can serve to reduce nervousness or its effects, but they do not root it out.

1. Relaxation techniques

Relaxation techniques are some of the first and best-known recommendations to fight and control nervousness. They are usually recommended techniques focused on breathing control and muscle tension and distension, like Jacobson’s well-known progressive muscle relaxation. Additionally, some types of techniques take no more than a few minutes and can be carried out anywhere.

2. Mindfulness or meditation

Mindfulness or meditation help us connect with the present, put things into perspective and focus on what is important. The level of tension can be greatly reduced and we can manifest a greater level of self-control. Meditation with evocation of relaxing images It is also usually very useful.

3. Self-instruction technique

“I’m not able to do it” or “I’m going to go blank” are thoughts that some people have when they feel nervous. This is completely harmful, since our expectations about our own performance can modify our final behavior in the direction we thought (remember the Galatea effect and the self-fulfilling prophecy).

On the contrary, holding positive thoughts and believing in our own possibilities can favor our final performance. In addition, giving ourselves instructions on what we are going to do next helps us not forget the key aspects.

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4. Rehearse and prepare the situation

Many times we are tremendously nervous because we don’t know how we are going to act in the situation. Although it is obviously not going to be the same, a good way to know and improve execution is rehearse what we are going to do or say. For example in front of a mirror or better yet, with people other than those who are going to participate in the feared situation.

Although it is redundant, rehearsing allows us to practice the performances we are going to carry out, obtain a vision of our strengths and the things we should improve before carrying out the performance and receive input from potential observers. Furthermore, we get used to the situation, so part of the surprise or novelty will not affect us as much at the moment of truth.

It is usually recommended that these reviews or rehearsals be given in the hours before the stimulus that causes nervousness. However, for some people it is often beneficial and even results in moments of maximum productivity when preparing.

5. Prepare, but leave room for improvisation

Rehearsing is necessary but we must keep in mind that we should not try to have everything prepared and planned, memorized as if we were going to recite something written on a piece of paper. In addition to the fact that the latter would be forced and unnatural in most cases, it is necessary that we know what we are going to do and have an outline of the general situationbut we must be ready for the situation to have unforeseen elements.

6. Decatastrophizes

We can put ourselves in the worst possible situation that occurs to us, and then ask ourselves What would really happen if what we fear happened?. It is about relativizing the importance of what is feared. We fail an exam, the appointment goes badly or we go blank. They laugh at us or we lose an opportunity. AND?

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I can show up next year, get another appointment with the person in question, or carry out another work. That’s not going to end us. The objective of this type of action is to give things the importance they have, no more and no less.

7. Expose yourself to the situation and avoid avoidance

A mistake that many people make not only in the face of normal nervousness, but also in the face of pathological anxiety is to avoid the feared situation. This only reinforces the fear of what is to come and worsens our abilities to cope. It is not about causing fear for pleasure, but about learning to face it in an adaptive way.

8. Consume drinks that allow you to relax and avoid exciting things

Coffee, energy drinks, or other exciting substances will increase your arousal level, leading to even greater nervousness. That is why we must avoid them, especially in the moments before the situation that causes us nervousness. On the contrary, it can be beneficial drink relaxing drinks such as lime blossom or chamomile. In some extreme cases, some type of tranquilizing drug may also be consumed, only on medical advice.

9. Do sports

Exercise activates our body, but it can also allow us to free our mind and calm ourselves. endorphins are generated and other substances that help reduce internal tension. It is useful to do exercises that leave us relaxed, but it is not necessary to do them until we drop. Running or swimming are usually some of the typical examples of useful exercises.

10. Contact with nature

Noticing the wind and breeze, the touch of grass or sand, the cold of winter or the light of the sun can be very pleasant. In addition, it has been shown that being in contact with nature can be relaxing and greatly reduce our tension levels. This recommendation can go hand in hand with exercising.

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