Emotional Effects
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How to Stop Being Nervous For Good

Daniel Sher, MA, Clin Psychology
How to Stop Being Nervous For Good

Even though not much is happening, you still feel tense. You're nervous about something in your life. Maybe you're nervous about someone you care about, about your own safety or about how others are going to see you socially. Perhaps you're not even sure why you're nervous, but you clearly feel that way anyway.

Those with anxiety often have worrisome thoughts alongside their feelings of nervousness.  Anxiety itself can both create and exacerbate this nervousness. 

For example:

These are all examples of the ways that anxiety can both create nervousness and make nervousness worse. 

Uncontrolled Nervous Thoughts

Nervousness is actually a healthy reaction. If you didn’t get nervous, you would take many more risks and possibly put yourself in danger. Nervousness is a tool that your body uses to let you know that you should be afraid, and without it you'd have no idea that you need to fight or flee to protect yourself from a threat.

How to Tell if Your Nervous Thoughts Are Out of Control

What makes anxiety frustrating at first is that many people do not know they have it. Their nervous thoughts feel completely normal. When someone develops anxiety, they may notice that they find more and more things to inspire feelings of nervousness. Yet to them, these are genuinely anxiety-producing stimuli.

If you have an anxiety disorder, you may experience physical symptoms, including the following: 

These physical symptoms a may be a sign that your anxiety is getting worse. Furthermore, those with anxiety often struggle to control their own nervous thoughts and may experience worst-case-scenario thinking that others cannot easily talk them out of. 

For example, a person with anxiety may get an increase in their heart rate, and instead of ignoring it or assuming the explanation is simple (like too much caffeine), they may fear they’re having a heart attack. Even if a part of them knows they have anxiety, it can still be hard to turn off this type of thinking.

This sort of thinking pattern, paired with a feeling of nervousness and physical symptoms, may indicate that you’re suffering from a very real anxiety problem, especially if these experiences make it hard for you to live a normal life. But fortunately, these sorts of problems can be controlled! 

Ways to Treat Nervousness

How can you control your nervous thoughts? Simply trying to push them away doesn’t work. Numerous psychological studies have confirmed that it's impossible to force yourself to not think about something. In fact, some studies have shown that trying not to think about something may make you more likely to think about it, because you'll have to keep reminding yourself not to think about it, thus triggering the memory

So ideally, you need to find a strategy that will control the nervousness, but not necessarily eliminate it, and thankfully there are a lot of very effective options for stopping nervous thinking. These include:

Relaxation Exercises 

There are several relaxation strategies that may be effective as well, although these often need to be practiced until they become second nature. Furthermore, they need to be done correctly in order to have an effect. Some of the most popular techniques include:

Talk to Someone 

Therapy is an incredibly valuable tool for controlling nervous thoughts, because it directly combats faulty thought processes. But for those that aren’t able to see a therapist, talking to someone that cares about you can be the next best thing. Not only will you get input from someone important in your life - you'll also find it harder to focus on what makes you nervous when you're talking to someone on the phone or in person.

These strategies may not stop nervous thinking forever,but they can help ensure that you're not as affected by your nervous thoughts. Each one of these is a tool that decreases the amount of focus and attention you place on those thoughts, making it easier to deal with the subsequent anxiety symptoms.

How to Stop Nervous Thinking in the Long Term

Those that are nervous all the time need to treat their anxiety like they would any health condition. Often, this is a matter of committing to getting some support from a trained professional. Just as you wouldn't treat serious illnesses haphazardly, the only way to find relief from anxiety is to give it special attention; and to make sure that you're using all the tools at your disposal to find the best way of coping with your anxiety symptoms.

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