Even though nothing is happening, you feel tense. You're nervous about something in your life. Maybe you're nervous about someone you care about. Maybe you're nervous about your own safety. Maybe you're nervous about how others are going to see you socially. Maybe you're not even sure why you're nervous, but you can tell that you're nervous anyway.
Those with anxiety often not only feel nervous - they have more worried thoughts as well. Anxiety changes thought patterns. It genuinely makes you feel as though there is something to worry about, even when you should not be worried, and for many people this can cause them significant amounts of distress.
CURE Your Nervousness
When you start to feel nervous about silly things, or you're nervous all the time, or the nervousness becomes too overwhelming, you may have an anxiety disorder. Find out how to control it with my free 7 minute anxiety test.
Uncontrolled Nervous Thoughts
Nervousness is actually a healthy emotion. If you couldn't get nervous, you would take many more risks, and possibly put yourself in danger. Nervousness is a tool that your body uses to notify you that you should be afraid, and without it you'd have no idea that you need to fight or flee any given situation.
But that nervousness needs to be contained. If you get nervous all of the time, that may indicate you need some very real help. Click here to take my 7 minute anxiety test and learn more.
How to Tell 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.
Usually physical symptoms are the first sign that you have developed an anxiety disorder. When your nervousness tends to cause:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Severe muscle tension
- Nausea or feelings of illness
These are often a sign that your anxiety is getting worse. Furthermore, those with anxiety often have thoughts that cascade to worst case scenarios. They cannot control a nervous thought themselves, and may even have flashes of worst-case-scenario thinking that no one can talk them out of.
It's this unprompted, potentially out of control nervousness that indicates something is wrong with your coping ability. If this nervousness is paired with physical anxiety symptoms, it is an even greater indicator that you may be suffering from a very real anxiety problem.
Ways to Treat Nervousness
One of the toughest questions to answer is how you can control your nervous thoughts. Numerous psychological studies have confirmed that it's impossible to force yourself not to 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, not necessarily eliminate it, and thankfully there are a lot of very effective options for stopping nervous thinking:
- Writing the Thoughts Out Something that increases the frequency of nervous thoughts is how much your brain wants to make sure it remembers them. For some reason, your mind is terrified of forgetting things that it thinks are important, so it will cause you to focus on them more than necessary. By writing out your thought on a piece of paper or journal, you'll essentially be taking the information out of your brain and putting it in a permanent place. That should reduce your mind's need to make you remember it.
- Go Jogging Physical tension is the hallmark of an anxiety problem, and one of the main issues that affects those with intense nervousness. Physical tension also appears to contribute to nervous thoughts, in ways that researchers still have been unable to grasp. You can solve both issues by simply going for a jog. Running tires the muscles in a way that can reduce the amount of anxiety symptoms you experience and possibly improve your ability to cope with anxiety.
- Mental Distractions You can't force yourself to stop thinking a thought. But you can make it much harder to have that thought because your focus is on so many different things. Give yourself mental distractions by turning on the TV (to something happy, of course) and doing some art or crafts. This type of combination distracts all of your senses, and makes it harder to focus on negative thoughts.
- Relaxation Exercises There are several relaxation strategies that may be effective as well. These take practice though. Many try to do them for the first time only to find that they don't help. That's because relaxation exercises can't help until you have practiced them so many times that it's second nature. In the beginning, the focus is on doing the exercises correctly. Only after you know how to do them correctly will they start to have an effect. Some of the most popular include:
- Mantra Meditation
- Deep Breathing
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Talk to Someone Therapy is an incredibly valuable tool for controlling nervous thoughts, because it directly combats faulty thought processes. But for those that can't afford therapy or refuse to seek out therapy, talking to someone that cares about you is 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.
None of these will stop nervous thinking forever. But what they can do is ensure that you're not able to be as affected by your nervous thoughts. Each one provides you with a tool that decreases the amount of focus and attention you place on those thoughts and make 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. They need to commit to a treatment. Just as you wouldn't treat serious illnesses haphazardly, the only way to find relief from anxiety is to give it special attention, and make sure that you're focused on as many ways as possible to permanently cure your anxiety symptoms.
I've helped thousands of people struggling with nervousness control their anxiety to the point where it never comes back. I start them all off with my free 7 minute anxiety test. It's a test designed specifically to look at anxiety symptoms and come up with an ideal treatment option. Click here to begin.
Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Jul 09, 2018.