How to Calm Down When Nervous
Updated: Aug 8
The importance of calming down when nervous and how to do it with deep relaxation
Increased blood pressure. Tummy troubles. Sweating. Chest tightness. Shoulder and neck tension.
These uncomfortable symptoms of nervousness and stress are all linked to activation of the nervous system.
And unfortunately, the nervous system and these symptoms are activated when we are stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed.
The good news is, learning how to calm down when nervous is the *key* to feeling good, low stress, and maximizing productivity.
1) The role of the nervous system in stress and anxiety
2) How to calm down when nervous to master your stress and stay in control of your life
How to Calm Down When Nervous: Understand the Nervous System
To understand how to calm down when nervous, we first need to understand the nervous system and how it works. Anytime we are feeling stressed, anxious, or nervous, the sympathetic nervous system, or the fight or flight response, gets activated in the body.
This leads to a series of physiological changes, including increased heart rate and blood pressure, muscle tension, decreased thinking abilities, changes in breathing, and other physical, emotional, and cognitive changes.
The more activated this response, the harder it is to calm down.
The Parasympathetic Nervous System and How to Calm Down When Nervous
To feel calm, we want to activate the opposite of this response, the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for a sense of calm and relaxation.
The main purpose of the parasympathetic nervous system is to conserve energy so it can be used later for bodily functions such as urination and digestion.
The body cannot be both activated and relaxed at the same time, since these are opposing nervous systems. Therefore, learning to activate the parasympathetic nervous system is important for managing stress in general, and calming down when feeling nervous or anxious.
How to Calm Down with Deep Relaxation
One of the best ways to activate the parasympathetic nervous system is by engaging the deep relaxation response in the body. The deep relaxation response activates the parasympathetic nervous system, decreasing heart rate and blood pressure, reducing muscle tension, and improving breathing and circulation.
There are many great ways to calm down nerves and stress, and deep breathing is one of the best ways to calm down fast.
One of the best ways to activate the deep relaxation response is with deep breathing.
Deep breathing has been shown to improve stress and anxiety, improve breathing and circulation, and improve overall emotional and physical wellbeing.
Before using this strategy when feeling nervous or stressed, *it is first important to practice it calmly* with the following steps:
1) Sit in a comfortable place with your feet on the ground
2) Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly. During this exercise, we want to feel our belly rising and expanding, and we want our chest to be mostly still
3) Take a slow inhale through your nose over a count of two seconds. This should be calm and gentle. Imagine filling your nose with air over two seconds. As you inhale in through your nose, imagine inflating a balloon in your stomach with air (you should feel your belly rise)
4) Exhale the air out of your mouth with slightly pursed lips over a count of three seconds. You should be able to hear your exhale. Imagine blowing on hot soup or blowing out a row of birthday candles. Imagine deflating the balloon in your stomach by gently squeezing your abs.
5) Repeat for 3-5 cycles
Tips for Deep Breathing Success
1) Practice daily at the same time for prevention and practice. Set aside 5 minutes per day at a consistent time. First thing in the morning or at night tend to be good times for most people
2) If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, this means you have inhaled too quickly or held it in your nose for too long
3) Make sure you are fully exhaling all of the air out of your mouth over the entire 3 seconds
4) Once you have been practicing regularly, begin to use it at the earliest signs of stress, anxiety, and nerves
Understanding of the stress response can be very helpful for managing stress, anxiety, and feeling nervous. One of the most straightforward ways to calm the body and mind is by activating the deep relaxation response with deep breathing.
The best way to step into your most productive, energetic, and feel good self is to learn to master the stress response by calming the nervous system.
Ready to learn how to calm your stress response and *much more* to better manage stress and improve your emotional well-being?
My signature Master Stress Method is an 8-week coaching program that will help you manage stress to sleep better, improve productivity, and reach your full potential.
You don't have to struggle with stress alone. Book a discovery call, and let's do this together :)
---------About Dr. Julia
Hi! I'm Dr. Julia. Health psychologist, stress and sleep expert, and creator of the Master Stress Method.
I have worked with thousands of individuals in major hospitals, university medical centers, and primary care settings to improve their stress levels, sleep, and overall emotional and physical well being.
My current focus is helping busy professionals prevent and manage the high stress that is getting in the way of their productivity, mood, sleep, and their ability to reach their full potential.
My 8-week, 1:1 coaching program has helped hundreds of stressed out, overwhelmed, and burned out clients significantly reduce their stress and anxiety, improve their sleep, and maximize their productivity, in just 8 short weeks.
I can't wait to help you stop the struggle with stress, for good. Let's chat :)