Monday, July 15, 2013

Stop Feeling Nervous

Repeat positive mantras to help control your nerves.

Nervous feelings are triggered by unpleasant situations and stressful events, such as financial problems, health issues and job interviews. Seemingly pleasant social functions such as parties may also cause anxiety, especially if you are shy, because they involve meeting new people. Performers, too, may feel nervous before they go on stage. However, chronic worriers may feel constantly threatened and paralyzed by an unrelenting flow of negative thoughts. Susan Jeffers, author of "Inner Talk," recommends relaxation methods and the repetition of positive mantras to replace negative chatter in your mind. The Help Guide website recommends training your mind to accept uncertainty and suggests lifestyle tips to help you control your nerves.


1. Find a quiet, isolated area, and sit or lie down so that you are comfortable. Place your hands over your abdomen, and breathe deeply and rhythmically to make your hands rise and fall. Say, "I create peace within my body and my mind." Close your eyes and say, "I relax from the top of my head to the tips of my toes."

2. Visualize closing a door on your nervousness, and imagine that light is entering every cell of your being. Say, "I am safe and there is nothing to fear." Bring your breathing back to normal, open your eyes, and say, "All is well." Rise slowly from the chair or floor to avoid dizziness.

3. Create a "worry period." Choose a specific place and a set time of day, such as between 6 and 6.30 p.m., and let anxious thoughts freely circulate in your mind. Set an alarm clock to determine the end of your worry session. By postponing worrying thoughts until the time of your worry period, and by limiting the amount of time you spend worrying, you achieve greater control over your nervous feelings.

4. Re-frame negative thoughts. Describe worries in detail to yourself, and then ask yourself questions about their validity. Treating your worries as hypotheses helps you achieve a more balanced perspective. For example, ask, "What evidence do I have to justify this belief?," "What are the positive outcomes?," or "How would I advise a friend who had this worry?"

5. Eat small meals regularly throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels stable, and prevent dehydration by drinking adequate amounts of fluid. Hunger and thirst can make you feel nervous and twitchy. Eat complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, to boost your levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that has calming effects.

6. Exercise regularly to ease muscular tension. For example, take part in 30 minutes of daily aerobic activity. Exercise releases brain chemicals called endorphins, which are natural pain killers that enhance feelings of calmness and well-being.

7. Prioritize sleep. Achieving emotional perspective is easier if you are well-rested. The Help Guide website recommends restricting your caffeine intake, which can interfere with sleep quality. Set a regular sleep/wake cycle by getting up at the same time each day and retiring to bed at the same time each evening. Practice tensing and releasing muscles in your body, starting from your feet and working upward, to help calm your thoughts.

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