Nervousness: Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Types, Relaxation Tips, and Simple Habits to Overcome it


It is a normal state when you are in a situation where you have to perform a specific task that can be evaluated or judged by others.

Activities such as giving a speech, attending a job interview or presenting to a crowd of people can cause “nerves”.

Control the nerves before an important event with deep breathing techniques, meditation, yoga and desensitization.

Exercising, reducing caffeine intake, sleeping well, drinking a cup of chamomile or lemon balm or using lavender oil as an aromatherapy can help in the long term.

Use Ayurvedic remedies such as ashwagandha to combat stress and acupuncture for anxiety. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help you adjust your behavior and thinking patterns to better manage situations.

This reaction can be really useful, but when your nervousness becomes irrational and overwhelming, preventing you from participating in situations of daily life, you may experience anxiety.

When the body detects the danger, adrenaline is released. This hormone activates the “fight or flight” mode, designed to get out of trouble quickly. One of the drawbacks of modern life is the amount of stress that people experience.

Chronic stress occurs when adrenaline or cortisol is released continuously, leaving you in a constant state of struggle or flight. When you are nervous, your body releases a small amount of adrenaline, enough for you to face the situation appropriately.

The anxiety attacks are the result of an overload of adrenaline, which has disastrous effects on their mental and physical health.

Sweaty palms, an accelerated heart, a flutter in the belly, only the idea of ​​such physical reactions can make you nervous.

Of course, although a certain amount of nerves is completely natural, especially before a large and important event, an interview, a date or perhaps a presentation, having these feelings can constantly become debilitating.

In addition to mental anguish, nervousness and anxiety can cause insomnia , confusion and mood swings, all of which can interfere with your normal daily life.

If your anxiety is temporary or a symptom of a more serious disorder, here are some natural and alternative remedies to help calm your nerves.

Control nervousness or anxiety at the moment with yoga, breathing, desensitization, meditation, aromatic oils and even a relaxing cup of tea. Other techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy and herbal remedies can take time, but will offer a long-term solution to your problems.


The human mind has evolved to think negatively. As Russ Harris puts it in “The Confidence Gap,” the number one job of the mind is to avoid getting killed.

The human mind considers that speaking in public is an intrinsically risky activity. Speaking in public opens it up to a negative judgment and the rejection of a group of people.

In our distant evolutionary past, the rejection of a group of people meant an almost certain death. That’s because alone, we ran the risk of predators and hunger, so we depended on a group to survive.

Taking this evolutionary perspective, the fear of speaking in public was a rational emotion. For most of us, in the privileged Western world, public rejection no longer carries the risk of death, but we still suffer the remnants of our evolutionary past.

Hence, many of us continue to suffer some degree of nervousness every time we become visible. So, every time you become visible and vulnerable, open to judgment and criticism, this fear will appear.

The presence of nervousness does not mean that you do not have confidence, it only means that you are human.


When you are nervous, you may have butterflies in your stomach, dizziness, your heart rate may increase and palms start to sweat. These symptoms disappear once you begin to feel comfortable while completing your task.

Although it is typical to experience these feelings when you encounter a situation that forces you to exceed your comfort level, other things can trigger nervous symptoms. A 2009 article highlighted additional factors that contribute to nervousness.

These include alcohol dependence, excessive caffeine consumption, drug use, allergies, hormonal imbalance, pre-menstrual syndrome and smoking.

How can nervousness and trust coexist?

Here is a useful way to think about the distinction between nervousness and trust.

Nervousness describes a series of physical symptoms such as heartbeat, butterflies in the belly and trembling hands. When we experience these physical symptoms, we say “I feel nervous”.

Since your nervousness is just a set of feelings, it does not mean anything about your ability to give a great presentation.

Trust, on the other hand, is the thought “I can do this!” (The Latin root of the word “trust” is “to have full confidence”).

He feels safe doing the job of learning and practicing the skills required to give a great presentation.

Nervousness and trust can coexist because they are in different spheres: nervousness is an emotion, trust is a thought or belief.

Then you may feel nervous, but be confident. But, I would have argued in the past, my thoughts and beliefs do not determine, or at least influence my emotions. So, if I’m sure, why would I be nervous?

Two types of nervousness and how to handle them

First-hand nervousness:

The first is the most obvious, the nervousness that is related to a particular event or situation that is happening right now in your life. It can be a problem at work or a conflict with a person, some thoughts of anxiety about health, a family member, etc.

We all know this type of nervousness, it is something that keeps us awake at night and requires a lot of mental strength.

In this case, when I relax, I have to think of a more positive scenario to solve my problematic situation and put it aside mentally. It’s not easy, but in most cases, after 10-15 minutes I can do it.

The main benefit here is that once you have finished with relaxation, you are likely to have a new and entirely new view of your situation, and you probably have a prepared solution or at least one plan.

This is the reason why the relaxations are so powerful; they can save us hours, days or even weeks to find a solution, while sometimes only 30 minutes of deep relaxation are needed.

Genetic nervousness:

The other type of nervousness is more complicated. The source of this type of nervousness is probably much more complicated than simply genetic, but let’s make it simple for this publication.

Genetic nervousness is the mental and emotional discomfort for which we can not find the exact cause. We feel irritated, everything seems to be wrong, but we can not say what.

When we examine a situation we realize that everything is really fine, but somehow we are not established, and we can often be a nightmare for the people around us because they can not see what the problem is either.

This type of nervousness is most likely caused by our genetics, an imbalance of organs or an altered flow of energy.

Dealing with this type of nervousness is much more challenging and requires adequate relaxation skills to be able to overcome it.

In most cases, all we need is time, and if we can not relax, we must focus on the basics, which is to relax our body and try not to perform any task, unless it is something quite relaxing.

Eventually, this nervousness will subside. Physical exercises can also help in this type of case, because often we simply lack circulation and we need to release some stagnation.

Drink plenty of water and eat healthy and fresh, and do not worry if you can not relax immediately, just keep in mind and let it go.

The type of genetic nerves can manifest quickly in a physical problem, so you should not ignore the symptoms. Take time for yourself and to relax, that is the best way of prevention and long-term healing.

Relaxation tips

Meditation is a useful way to relax the mind and body. Join a meditation group if you are a beginner or practice only in a quiet environment. Learn deep breathing techniques to instantly calm your nerves.

Yoga, visualization and tension and relaxation of muscle groups, known as progressive muscle relaxation, are all useful relaxation tools along with exercise, regular sleep and a healthy and balanced diet.

Meditate to control nervous energy and cope with stress:

The Anxiety and Depression Association of the United States lists meditation as an alternative treatment to relieve nervousness and anxiety in adults. Methods such as mindfulness meditation have been found to help people cope better with stressful situations.

Although much research supports the effectiveness of meditation, it is still understandable to be skeptical. So, how and why does meditation work? Anxiety has a tendency to make your mind run at full speed, making you imagine everything that could go wrong.

This constant nervousness can even cause insomnia . Meditation helps you control your imagination and your mind. It forces you to concentrate in the moment.

Over time, it will teach you to recognize a worrying thought as it happens and keep it under control before it gets worse.

Here is a method you can use anytime, anywhere, even on a busy day:

  • Start by finding a word or sentence that you repeat while meditating. This is your mantra. It could be something as simple as the word “Peace”.
  • Find a comfortable place to sit, whether on a chair or sofa or on the floor. Wherever you choose to sit, be sure to sit as straight as possible.
  • To begin, close your eyes and inhale deeply through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
  • Then, close your mouth and breathe gently through your nose.
  • Repeat the chosen word or phrase internally, making sure you do not actually say it out loud or move your lips to form the words. Create a rhythm for your phrase initially and then synchronize smoothly with your breathing (do not force it).
  • If you find that your mind wanders, concentrate on chanting the mantra.
  • Once you finish singing, sit relaxed for a while with your eyes closed.

Continue the practice for 5-10 minutes first, working up to 30 minutes and doing it every day. Meditation helps calm the mind and calms your breathing in the process. It incorporates yogic breathing techniques to make this more effective.

Use the yogic breathing techniques to calm down:

These yogic breathing techniques can be easily performed before a great presentation, meeting or event.

Sama vritti or nocturnal breathing in pranayama is a controlled form of yogic breathing. To do this, inhale deeply through the nose and feel the breath enter the lower depths of your belly, naturally and without force. Inhale until you count five, depending on how much you can manage.

Exhale through the mouth, allowing the air to flow smoothly. Count to five before inhaling again. Doing this for just three or five minutes can make a big difference to calm those nerves.

You may also want to try kumbhaka pranayama or breath hold. Hold or hold your breath for approximately 2 counts after inhaling and before exhaling gently. You can build this up to 5 or 6 counts gradually.

Another useful technique is the nadi shodhana or alternate breathing of the nasal fossa, in which the nostrils alternate closing. Inhale through the open nostril, before closing it, then open the other nostril to exhale.

Practice Yoga to relieve the symptoms of anxiety:

Like meditation, yoga requires you to focus on your breathing, which can be an excellent way to calm your mind and distract you from the source of your anxiety or nervousness. Research has identified the benefits of yoga to relieve anxiety and stress symptoms.

Soothing yoga postures like balasana or a child’s posture, shavasana or corpse pose, sukhasana or easy posture, janu shirsasana or forward knee flexion, uttanasana or forward foot bending can help you feel less anxious.

Your chest tends to contract when you are anxious. But when you stretch it, your rib cage rises and you can breathe deeply.

A soothing infusion with the flavors and aromas of soothing oils like chamomile can help those with a mild or moderate form of anxiety. However, it may not be a strong enough remedy if you have a more severe form of anxiety.

Peppermint tea is a muscle relaxant, which can relieve tension, stress and anxiety, while lemon balm tea can also leave you relaxed, but without drowsiness.

Just remember that, if you are pregnant, these teas may not be safe; more research is needed on its possible adverse effects in pregnant women.

Use desensitization techniques to prepare and calm yourself:

Imaginary desensitization can help you prepare for a stressful or anxious situation.

While it’s not a substitute for learning to handle a problem through real-life exposure, it’s pretty close. Done well, it should help calm some of that nervousness and calm him down.

This is what you need to do:

  • Think and write down the details of the situation you are nervous about. It enumerates the steps involved in that experience, examining it from beginning to end and without neglecting any detail. In this way, you will know what to expect, including multiple possibilities and scenarios.
  • Imagine or visualize each step in your mind. If anxiety strikes at any step, pause until you overcome this anxiety before continuing.
  • Deal with every problem that induces anxiety or nervousness by imagining how you will face it.
  • Imagine yourself staying calm through the stages.

Try aromatherapy with lavender to help you relax:

A good way to recreate the soothing atmosphere of a spa is to invest in lavender essential oil. Place a little on a handkerchief or handkerchief and inhale. You can also mix a little with a carrier oil and rub on your wrists if you feel nervous or anxious.

However, be careful not to use too much; You will not want to give anyone a swoop of that scent upon entering a room!

If you are at home or just looking to relax and relieve anxiety in general, you can use other aromatherapy equipment. With a reed diffuser or aroma vaporizer, it allows the relaxing lavender aromas to filter.

Lavender oil can help with the symptoms of anxiety, restlessness and disturbed sleep. You can create a sense of well-being and help you feel less worried or panicked.

This is also the reason why it is so popular as an alternative remedy for a variety of neurological and psychological disorders, which include depression and anxiety .

In one study, researchers discovered that the use of lavender even suppressed patients’ anxiety in a highly feared place: a dental clinic!

Take Ashwagandha to decrease stress and improve mental health:

Ashwagandha or Withania somnifera is an Ayurvedic remedy and a powerful adaptogen . This herb can help to stabilize the physiological processes in the body that improve your response to stress. It has been shown to cause significant improvements in the symptoms of stress and anxiety in the test subjects.

According to one study, ashwagandha proved to be more effective in relieving anxiety symptoms than psychotherapy. Those subjected to naturopathic treatment also showed better results in general quality of life, social functioning, concentration and mental health than those who underwent psychotherapy.

Exercise to relieve tension, lift mood and improve concentration:

Exercise has a wide range of benefits, both physical and mental. It can reduce fatigue, help you feel more alert and improve cognitive function and concentration. All these combinations make you more capable of dealing with stressful situations.

Exercise also increases the levels of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, which elevate your mood, relieve tension and allow you to sleep better. As a result, your levels of nervousness and anxiety should decrease naturally.

In fact, the research suggests that those who are physically active have a lower anxiety index than those who lead a sedentary life.

Even a 10 minute walk could be useful if you currently have nothing. Slowly build up, shoot for at least 30 minutes of regular aerobic exercise every day. You could swim, jog, run or cycle.

Try acupuncture to modify the flow of energy and relieve anxiety:

The ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture is known to help people with anxiety problems. Now there is a growing body of research to help support it. During an acupuncture session, needles are inserted in certain points of the body to modify the flow of energy and correct imbalances.

Use cognitive behavioral therapy to change your behavior and thought patterns:

The cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) course is a widely recommended treatment for anxiety problems. It involves working closely with a therapist to identify their thinking and behavior patterns and learn to change them for the better.

Over time, this process should help you feel more controlled and more confident, both are the ideal antidotes against nervousness.

Make lifestyle changes to prevent and overcome nervousness and anxiety:

Plan ahead: If you know what to expect and have an established plan, it is less likely to dissolve into a pool of nerves.

Do not leave things at the last moment, be it a big work project or a family event. Have the details resolved in advance.

Prepare for contingencies and make backup plans. That way, you will be at your best when you need to be and well prepared if a problem arises.

Get enough sleep: the importance of sleep can not be emphasized enough. If you lose your sleep, you are much more likely to feel anxiety. On top of that, your performance and concentration may suffer.

In fact, it is known that lack of sleep causes anxiety symptoms such as excessive worry, fear and tension.

Do not skip meals : skipping meals can cost you vital nutrition and make it work at suboptimal levels. You need to feed your body to be at its best.

Eat healthy and balanced meals: eating well is as important as eating regularly. For example, a vitamin deficiency may help exacerbate feelings of nervousness and anxiety.

In particular, a deficiency of vitamin B6 can cause fatigue and anxiety, confusion, changes in mood and other signs of depression.

A deficiency of vitamin B12 could leave you chronically stressed as a result of memory problems, confusion and depression. Your body needs such vitamins for the concentration and functioning of the nervous system.

Reduce your caffeine intake : if you are a coffee or tea drinker, it may be time to decrease your habit a bit. Much caffeine can induce anxiety symptoms, especially social anxiety.

For those prone to anxiety, the effects of caffeine are especially potent. If you can not avoid it altogether, try to limit yourself to one cup per day.

Talk about it : friends, family, colleagues or therapists can be your greatest support when you lack confidence or face problems too big for you to do it yourself. A conversation with a trusted person may be just what you need.

How to eliminate the nervousness of the job interview:

We have all experienced the roller coaster ride that involves getting the interview for a great job.

The euphoria and relief of the first phone call that lets us know that we are at the door, along with the sudden and overwhelming fear of impending performance are enough to make anyone turn around.

It does not have to be this way, fortunately for all of us (including introverts), it is possible to adjust our approach to a large interview to be less nervous about it.

Here are three things you can do to properly channel your nervousness towards trust:

Change “scared” to “excited”:

First, stop telling you that you are nervous. Your heart may be beating hard, and you may be sweating a little more than usual, but you know what? We have the same reaction when we are also very excited.

In fact, research shows that the prominent hormone released when you are afraid (cortisol) is the same hormone released when you are excited. It’s just that fear submerges us in a negative direction, while emotion catapults us into a positive one.

Then, win! Every time you start telling yourself that you are nervous about an interview, remind yourself that nervous energy also fuels excited energy. Then channel that energy to prepare the interview and perform it.

Prepare early and often:

Attention delayers, wait until the night before a big interview will not do you any favors when it comes to remembering your material.

It is convenient to practice the answers of your interview (using many good stories about your skills in the workplace) using the print-association-repeat approach a few days before your interview.

Using a combination of sensory impressions, word and story associations, and repetition to study your interview materials will help you fully process your interview responses.

As a result, your conversation will be more natural and you will remember everything you want to remember when the opportunity to speak about your skills and achievements comes up.

Change your seat with your interviewer:

Here is another mental change you should do, when you are nervous about an interview, approach it as if you were the interviewer.

After all, interviews are not a one-way street; It’s good for you to roast the potential company as well, so you know what you’re getting into and see if you really want the job in the first place.

Lower bets:

Often, when we are nervous about an interview, the intense emotions we feel come from what is at stake: a job you need, a job you want or simply your personal reputation.

But, what if you decided there was nothing in the interview? Decrease bets by deciding that you can not accept work if it is offered.

Approach this tete-a-tete as an informational meeting that you will use to decide whether or not to hold a second meeting, not the work itself.

If you can not stop wanting the job, at least decide that you will not make any decisions or assumptions about the job until your second interview. In this way, you can reduce the pressure from one meeting to another.

It is natural to be nervous about an interview. After all, not everyone wakes up excited to convince strangers to hire them. But by using these tips, you are on a straight path to reduce nervousness and interview as the excellent job candidate that you are.

Simple habits to overcome nervousness

Prepare if possible:

A bit obvious, but do your preparation on time and not at the last minute and do the preparation well, without trying to do it perfectly, instead of doing it carelessly, it makes a big difference.

You will feel more confident about yourself and you will relax about what you are about to do.

  • If you have an important meeting, do your homework so that you know what will emerge or what will emerge at the meeting.
  • If you have an appointment, you may try to think of 2-3 interesting topics / questions to come up in case the conversation flow stops.
  • If you have a job interview, think about what they can ask you and find out some good answers.

Ask yourself: what is the worst that could happen realistically?

This question has helped me many times to calm down and stop building a mountain in the middle of a worm.

Because the worst thing that happened when I was dating was that I had a rather uncomfortable date with someone with whom I did not have good chemistry. It did not lead to a second date and, sometimes, I felt bad for a day or two. And that was practically everything.

But the sky did not fall because it was a bad date. I got up the next morning again and many times I learned something good from that.

Visualize in a positive way:

It is so easy to get caught up in the usual negative visualizations in your mind of how the situation is going. And then you get nervous.

Try to rest a moment the next time you have a date, party or next meeting.

Only this time allow yourself to see things in a positive way.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Lie on your bed or sit somewhere comfortable. Close your eyes.
  • In your mind, see how big the situation will develop: see and hear, and also how great you will feel in this meeting. Look at yourself being positive, open and having fun with a smile on your face. And see the excellent result you want in your mind.
  • Then release visualizing that it has already happened, that the meeting has ended with the desired result. This is surprisingly effective and will take you to a good, safe and relaxed head space even before entering the conference room, classroom or pub.
  • Test it and see how this exercise works for you. Maybe it becomes something you want to keep doing.

Slow down and breathe with your belly:

A few minutes before entering the situation that makes you nervous, slow down. Walk slower to the meeting place. Move more slowly. Even stop for a minute if you wish and stay still.

Then breathe through the nose. Breathe a bit deeper than usual and make sure you breathe with your belly, not your chest (a common problem when people get stressed or nervous).

Concentrate only on your slow inhalation and exhalation for one or two minutes. Only in the air going in and out of your nose.

This will reassure you, make it easier to think normally again and that unique approach can take you back to this moment instead of past failures or future concerns.

Assume the relationship in social situations:

After you have slowed down and concentrated on your breathing, I have another good habit if you still feel a little nervous and get into some kind of social situation. This worked especially well for me when I was single and was dating. And it is also very useful just before any other type of meeting.

The habit is to assume a good relationship. This means that just before you meet someone you pretend and you think that you meet one of your best friends.

Then, naturally, it will slide into an emotional state and mood much more relaxed, comfortable, safe and pleasant. In this state of mind, the conversation tends to flow more naturally too, without much thought. As with your friends.

People do not really think about you or what you do:

You can feel that everyone is watching, judging and thinking a lot about you. And then you get nervous or you hold back in life.

But a sobering realization that I’ve had over the years is that people just do not care much what you do.

The fact that you can think a lot about what you do and say does not mean that others do too. They have their own plate full of doing the same thing as you: concentrating on themselves, on their pets and children and on their own challenges at this moment in time.

This realization may make you feel a little less important. But it also frees you a little more to do what you want to do in life.

Convince yourself that you are excited:

Take advantage of the nervous energy in something that helps you.

If you can not minimize nervousness in some situations by using the advice above, then take a different approach.

When the nervousness arises, tell yourself that you are excited about the meeting, the presentation, etc. This helps you to change the perspective of what is happening inside you and I have discovered that it helps me to get a boost of enthusiasm.

Then I can enter that meeting with that mentality and emotional state more useful. And within minutes of the meeting, the excited energy was generally used in a useful way and I felt more relaxed and centered again.

Address the nervousness prior to the competitions:

Everyone gets a little nervous before a great game or sporting event. However, for those who experience the severe symptoms associated with social anxiety disorder (SAD), the quality of their athletic performance will often suffer.

The relationship between anxiety and sports performance is so strong that a whole field of psychology, the psychology of sports, has been dedicated to helping athletes fight nerves.

Fortunately, you can use a series of strategies to help overcome the nervousness of the day of play and control anxiety before it gets out of control.


Many elite athletes use visualization to improve performance, build confidence and control anxiety. Visualization, also known as imagery or mental rehearsal, involves imagining yourself competing successfully in a sporting event.

To make the visualization work, close your eyes and imagine the physical movements you would do to be successful in the competition. Try to imagine yourself moving at the same speed you would in real life.

Also, make sure you are imagining from your own perspective, not from that of an observer. You should see the scene (the crowd, the field) as you would if you were really there, without seeing yourself competing.

Any tips to make the visualization work? Do what you can to make the imagined experience seem as real as possible.

If going to an empty soccer field and sitting on the bench helps you make the imagined experience more real, do it anyway.

If crowd noise is likely to distract you during a competition, see if you can find an audio recording with crowd noises that you can play while viewing the event.

Whatever you can do to make the imagined experience real will help you translate what you imagine into what you achieve.

Set goals:

Clearly defined goals help measure success, but goals that are too high can leave you overwhelmed and unsure of your abilities. Choose goals that are achievable but challenging, and when possible, divide the tasks into smaller parts with a series of short-term goals.

Relaxation techniques:

Relaxation techniques are useful to reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as an increased heart rate, tense muscles and rapid and shallow breathing.

These techniques can be used at any time prior to a performance or competition and can be particularly useful when practiced the night before or in the hours leading up to an event to help keep nerves at bay.

Two of the most common relaxation techniques are diaphragmatic breathing and progressive muscle relaxation.

Cognitive restructuring:

Cognitive restructuring refers to changing the habitual ways of thinking.

In the case of anxiety about athletic performance, cognitive restructuring helps you evaluate bodily arousal differently, much in the same way that elite athletes channel excitement to emotion and the ability to accept the excitement. challenge.

Changing the way you think about competitions can also be useful.

Plan always give the best of you, regardless of how important you think a competition, allows you to assign less importance to the main competitions and, in turn, reduce anxiety about your performance.

Knowing your thoughts and feelings is also key to managing the cognitive symptoms of anxiety.

Recognizing negative thoughts when they first enter your mind allows you to stop them before they settle down so you can replace them with more positive ones.

Develop self-confidence:

It can be hard to imagine trusting a competition if it usually collapses under pressure.

However, you can take specific measures to help increase self-confidence. Focus on past successes instead of failures. Make practice and preparation a priority and continue until there is no doubt about your ability to succeed.

Do you still have problems with self-confidence? Remember to visualize Imagine competing with confidence over and over again until it becomes your new reality.

Get distracted:

Of course, you will not want to get distracted during a competition, but immediately before, why not? Talk to your teammates or other competitors, read a book, listen to music; whatever it is that helps your mind not to generate negative thoughts.

Focus on what you can control:

If you find yourself worried about who is in the crowd watching you, or that the other competitors are better than you, remember that these are aspects of the competition that are out of your control.

What you can control is your own performance, how well prepared you are, and how well you implement techniques and strategies, such as progressive muscle relaxation and metaphors.

Unfortunately, some people experience severe anxiety in situations of athletic performance that is not improved by the use of self-help strategies.

In fact, sometimes just visiting a therapist can increase the usefulness of these strategies, first because you are responsible to someone for the work you do and the progress you make, and second because there is someone who believes you can improve.

If your symptoms worsen, consider talking to your doctor or requesting a referral to a mental health professional who can determine if you meet the criteria for a diagnosis of social anxiety disorder and what type of treatment is best suited for your situation.