Ways to help nervousness

Tips to help ease anxiety

Speaking of Health

Topics in this Post

  • Anxiety
  • Balance your mental and emotional health
  • Family Medicine
  • Behavioral Health
  • COVID-19

Anxiety often is described as sustained and excessive worry that a person cannot control, and is related many times to the anticipation of a future threat, such as COVD-19 or a traumatic event. At times, anxiety can have a large and negative affect on our daily lives, work, relationships and overall happiness. Anxiety also can manifest as an irritable, worried, restless and debilitating stress response which can last for minutes to days. Most everyone has had anxiety surrounding a stressful situation.

Anxiety becomes an obstacle for a happy, healthy life when it affects our day-to-day lives in these ways:

Emotionally, anxiety can appear as:
  • Excessive worry
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Poor concentration
  • Restlessness
  • Sleep disturbances
Physically, anxiety can appear as:
  • Chest pain
  • Diarrhea, stool pattern changes or upset stomach
  • Headache
  • Increased heart rate
  • Muscle aches
  • Shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating

The negative effects of anxiety

Left unchecked, anxiety can negatively affect our lives in these ways:
  • Interrupting daily life — Causing issues at home, school, work and socially
  • Isolating us — Not wanting to participate in normal daily activities or take new steps in life due to fear
  • Emotionally — Increasing our risk for depression, suicide and failure to progress in life
  • Physically — Increasing our risk for physical distress, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, chest pain and tremors
  • Mentally — Increasing our risk for financial complications, poor decision-making and poor communication

Tips to help combat anxiety

There are a number of things you can try to help combat anxiety, including:
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Deep breathing
  • Exercise
  • Journaling
  • Meditation
  • Reading
  • Socializing, following pandemic guidelines of social distancing, masking and hand hygiene)
  • Speaking with your health care provider
  • Spirituality
  • Thought reframing

When to seek advice or treatment from a medical professional

It's recommended you speak to a health care provider about your anxiety should any of these situations occur:
  • Your anxiety becomes an obstacle — In any aspect of everyday living, often causing difficulties for six or more months
  • Your anxiety becomes a negative influence in relationships — Creating barriers in life
  • Your anxiety leads to isolation — Producing thoughts of hopelessness or helplessness
  • Your anxiety controls your life — When your emotional or physical response to excessive worry is controlling your life in some aspect or another

A person with anxiety can seek support from a therapist, medical provider, family member, friend, community support person, crisis line resource or a crisis center. Depending on the severity of your anxiety, a behavioral therapy plan, anti-anxiety medication and/or coping mechanisms may be directed to your personal situation.

Recognition of anxiety is a key factor in dealing with excessive worry and moving forward in life. If you have any of the above symptoms or have difficulty controlling worry in your life, ask yourself if it could be anxiety you're experiencing. It's important to share any concerns of excessive worry with your health care provider so we can help you identify ways to address your anxiety and move past the debilitation of excessive worry.

If COVID-19 has increased your anxiety, learn ways to tame anxiety during the pandemic, and get tips for mindfulness and coping.

Jill Christensen is a Family Medicine nurse practitioner in Waterville, Minnesota.

For the safety of our patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was either recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in a non-patient care area where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

Topics in this Post

  • Anxiety
  • Balance your mental and emotional health
  • Family Medicine
  • Behavioral Health
  • COVID-19

Self-care tips during the COVID-19 pandemic

Overwhelmed by anxiety?

Mentally surviving the imperfect storm that is 2020

Tips and Strategies to Manage Anxiety and Stress |

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At some point, anxiety and stress affect everyone. They can manifest differently in different people, and the level of anxiety one experiences can vary, but there is one thing for certain: there are ways to manage anxiety, even if it feels out of control.

Of course, if anxiety is affecting your everyday life and getting in the way of your daily productivity for an extended period, please seek assistance. Find Help

Information about causes and treatment goes a long way in helping to understand anxiety and stress, but there are also some physical and mental things you can do when feeling anxious or stressed. Some coping strategies from ADAA’s experts include:

Coping Strategies

Try these when you're feeling anxious or stressed:

  • Take a time-out. Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem helps clear your head.
  • Eat well-balanced meals. Do not skip any meals. Do keep healthful, energy-boosting snacks on hand.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
  • Get enough sleep. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.
  • Exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health. Check out the fitness tips below.
  • Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly.
  • Count to 10 slowly. Repeat, and count to 20 if necessary.
  • Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn't possible, be proud of however close you get.
  • Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective: Is it really as bad as you think?
  • Welcome humor. A good laugh goes a long way.
  • Maintain a positive attitude. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
  • Get involved. Volunteer or find another way to be active in your community, which creates a support network and gives you a break from everyday stress.
  • Learn what triggers your anxiety. Is it work, family, school, or something else you can identify? Write in a journal when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, and look for a pattern.
  • Talk to someone. Tell friends and family you’re feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you. Talk to a physician or therapist for professional help.

Fitness Tips: Stay Healthy, Manage Anxiety and Stress

For the biggest benefits of exercise, try to include at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity physical activity (e. g. brisk walking) each week, 1¼ hours of a vigorous-intensity activity (such as jogging or swimming laps), or a combination of the two.

  • 5 X 30: Jog, walk, bike, or dance three to five times a week for 30 minutes.
  • Set small daily goals and aim for daily consistency rather than perfect workouts. It's better to walk every day for 15-20 minutes than to wait until the weekend for a three-hour fitness marathon. Lots of scientific data suggests that frequency is most important.
  • Find forms of exercise that are fun or enjoyable. Extroverted people often like classes and group activities. People who are more introverted often prefer solo pursuits.
  • Distract yourself with an iPod or other portable media player to download audiobooks, podcasts, or music. Many people find it’s more fun to exercise while listening to something they enjoy.
  • Recruit an “exercise buddy.” It's often easier to stick to your exercise routine when you have to stay committed to a friend, partner, or colleague.
  • Be patient when you start a new exercise program. Most sedentary people require about four to eight weeks to feel coordinated and sufficiently in shape so that exercise feels easier.

Learn about some common anxiety myths and misconceptions

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

  • Understanding GAD
  • Symptoms
  • Treatment
  • Myths & Realities
  • Resources
ADAA Resources


  • Book Conversations - 3 Part Series on Overcoming Anxiety
  • Calming the Inner-Chatter of Your Mind
  • Thriving with Anxiety and Depression
  • What Are Intrusive Thoughts and How Can You Deal with Them?
  • Outsmart Your Anxious Brain
  • The Mindful Way Through Anxiety
  • Get Unstuck from Depression and Anxiety with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
  • Building the Confidence to Manage Anxiety, ADHD, and Executive Function


  • Learning to Live Well with Worry
  • Why Anxiety Should Not Be Feared
  • SSRIs and Benzodiazepines for General Anxiety Disorders (GAD)

Trending articles:

  • 11/09/2022 Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction vs Escitalopram for the Treatment of Adults With Anxiety Disorders, JAMA Psychiatry, Elizabeth Hoge, MD
  • 11/09/2022 Mindfulness meditation reduces anxiety as much as a common antidepressant drug, study finds, CNBC, Elizabeth Hoge, MD

How to calm your nerves: 7 quick ways


© Chester Wade/Unsplash

Author Uliana Smirnova

August 30, 2021

RBC Style shares proven methods that will help relieve emotional stress and calm down in a matter of minutes

Stressful situations happen to people almost daily. Lack of time, difficulties at work, illness of loved ones - all this can unbalance. At such moments, the heartbeat quickens, adrenaline is released, muscles tense up, breathing gets out of hand. However, the possibilities of the nervous system are not unlimited - its defenses are gradually depleted. nine0003

Prolonged stress can weaken the immune system, provoke nervous breakdowns, upset the psyche. According to doctors, many diseases arise precisely on the basis of nerves. For example, diabetes and bronchial asthma. Some experts even find a link between stress and cancer.

Protecting yourself from nervous situations is almost impossible. But learning to manage your emotions and relieve stress is quite real. Meditation, yoga and proper nutrition help a lot with this. But what about when you need to quickly pull yourself together? The main task in this state is to reduce the level of adrenaline in the blood. We talk about the most effective methods that will help calm the nervous system and return to a familiar state in a short time. nine0003

1. Restore your breathing

A five-minute deepening of the breath will help reduce the level of adrenaline and relieve tension. The best-known method is to slowly count to ten or twenty while controlling your inhalation and exhalation. Straighten your back and straighten your shoulders. Breathe slowly, without jerks, concentrating on each breath. Try to stretch the exhalation and make it longer than the inhalation. After each respiratory cycle, there is a short pause of 3-5 seconds. This exercise increases attention, calms the nervous system and reduces stress. If you feel discomfort or dizziness, return to your usual breathing rhythm. nine0003

© Natalia Figueredo/Unsplash

2. Create a virtual image

The adrenaline rush will stop if you take your mind off the stressful situation and start thinking about something else. This method is useful when you are provoked to an outburst of aggression. Start remembering the multiplication table, your favorite poem, phone numbers and friends' birthdays. It is even better to connect the imagination and visualize thoughts, presenting them in the form of pictures, colored and as detailed as possible. Try to mentally draw a cozy cafe or sea coast. Try to feel how the water gently touches your body and takes away negative emotions. If possible, take a comfortable position, relax and close your eyes. To calm down, 4-5 minutes will be enough. nine0003

3. Go for a swim or shower

A warm, powerful shower will not only relax your muscles and improve circulation, but also calm your nerves. And half an hour in the pool will relieve stress after a working day. Another way to relieve emotional stress is to turn on your favorite music and take a hot bath. The effect will be enhanced if you add a few drops of soothing chamomile, lavender, tangerine or lemon balm essential oil to the water. If there is no time for long water procedures, wet your hands and run wet palms over your face, neck and shoulders. Cold water well tones the skin and soothes the nerve receptors. Alternatively, you can use a rose water spray to help freshen up. nine0003

© Robson Hatsukami/Unsplash

4. Turn on the music and dance

Any physical activity can restore mental balance. For example, a half-hour run in the fresh air or an intense workout in the gym. Instead of exercise, you can dance, go for a walk, play badminton, or do some cleaning. During such a load, the brain produces neurotransmitters that are responsible for a good mood and reduce anxiety. It is the body's response to muscle stress. Scientists say that regular exercise is an excellent prevention of depression. And improving the appearance and physical performance will be a nice bonus. nine0003

5. Make tea with honey

A glass of clean water will help you quickly restore a normal heart rate and relax. You need to drink slowly - in short sips, taking short breaks between them. In addition to water, hot tea with dessert helps to cope with anxiety and irritation. Swallowing movements calm the nerves, and sweet stimulates the production of “happiness hormones”. At the same time, it is better to replace cookies and sweets with healthy treats. For example, honey, dried fruits or dark chocolate. The latter is good at removing cortisol and catecholamines that cause stress. You can add ginger root, a sprig of oregano, a few mint leaves or jasmine flowers to the drink - these additives are known for their calming effect. nine0003

© Rawpixel/Unsplash

6. Do a light self-massage

A good massage therapist will quickly relieve nervous tension and eliminate muscle clamps. If a professional master does not have time for a session, a relaxing massage can be done on your own. A large number of nerve endings are concentrated in the head. Wash your hands thoroughly, sit on a chair and start massaging your temples in smooth circular motions. Gradually move on to the scalp. The fingertips should slide freely over the surface (in the direction of hair growth) and not stretch the skin. Properly performed ten-minute massage improves blood circulation, relieves stress and normalizes sleep. In addition, it stimulates hair growth and strengthens hair follicles. nine0003

7. Start a personal diary

You can relieve accumulated stress with paper and a pen. Stay alone with yourself, take a blank sheet and write about an unpleasant event. When everything is ready, it is recommended to burn or tear the written paper. You can keep a permanent personal diary - in a beautiful notebook or laptop. So you can rethink the situation and quickly get rid of destructive emotions. Moreover, the more written on paper, the less disturbing thoughts will remain in your head. This method is especially useful for those who are used to restraining their emotions and words. nine0003

© Annie Spratt/Unsplash

In addition, anti-stress coloring books or regular children's coloring books help to cope with nerves. This is one of the most popular forms of art therapy.

how to get rid of it — Here and Now

Author of the article: Anna Alexandrovna Narushevich Psychologist-consultant, adolescent psychologist, family psychologist.
Practical experience: 15 years.

We all get nervous and irritated sometimes. This is a normal reaction of the body to situations that do not suit us, these emotions allow us to “let off steam”. They are good for our body and brain. But when the balance inside is disturbed and we experience increased nervousness, anxiety and fear too often - our body is depleted, the quality of life deteriorates, we lose control over ourselves and over what is happening around. How to understand that you have increased irritability and what symptoms indicate chronic nervousness? What are the causes of nervousness in women and nervousness in men? You will learn the answers to these questions from our article. nine0003

How nervousness manifests itself

Symptoms of increased nervousness can be very different. Nervousness can be expressed in a large number of different feelings, by which you can find it in yourself. Here are just a few of these signs:

  • you find it difficult to concentrate and focus on one thing;
  • you do not tolerate changes in already built plans;
  • nine0078 you often get tired, feel a breakdown, even if there are no objective reasons for this;
  • you are hypersensitive and vulnerable, acutely perceive other people's words and situations;
  • you are quick-tempered;
  • quite often experience anxiety;
  • you have increased tearfulness;
  • sleep disturbance;
  • often show aggression;
  • you have excessive anxiety.

Physical signs include excessive sweating, increased breathing rate, rapid heartbeat, frequent spasmodic headache, body aches. nine0003

You don't have to experience all of these feelings at the same time, and you may not even have all of the symptoms on the list . People with increased nervousness and irritability may feel well, but at some point a certain situation can piss them off and not all, but, for example, half of the symptoms will appear.

If you notice any of these signs, we recommend that you seek professional help.

It is important to understand that increased nervousness is not yet a mental disorder, which means that it is much easier to cure and prevent it at an early stage. nine0003

Causes of constant nervousness

Most people experience irritability from time to time. Stress is not invented by the body for the sake of harm. When the brain senses danger and the stress mechanism kicks in, a series of hormonal and physiological responses occur that prepare us to deal with the threat.

Your body releases adrenaline to run from or fight danger. But in the modern world, there are not so many threats that require such inclusion of the body, and constant, chronic stress harms the body. To solve this problem, it is necessary to understand its origins. Even if it seems to you that there are no reasons for stress, on a subconscious level, your brain perceives some factor as a problem. In addition, many people develop increased irritability after prolonged illnesses. For example, nervousness after the coronavirus is not uncommon in recent years. nine0003

If you notice increased nervousness in a child, this may be due to the period of development of the organism. It's normal to be overly sensitive during puberty. But constant nervousness can also be an indicator of a disorder such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Accumulated fatigue that has been ignored for months and even more so for years is a common sign of nervousness.

How to get rid of nervousness

You have noticed increased nervousness and irritability. What to do? Anxiety is treated.

First of all, don't be afraid of nervousness. This is a normal feeling and may even be beneficial to the body in some cases.

Nervousness is your body's way of preparing you for what's to come, which is usually outside of your comfort zone. Let go of your fear and accept that this is a completely natural experience and will help keep your nerves in check. nine0003

Don't blame yourself and try to stay calm. Remember that you are not the only one who has encountered this problem, which means that there are people who understand you.

At the very moment of irritation and increased nervousness, these methods of calming can help you:

  • yoga
  • meditation
  • massage
  • listening to music
  • pet play
  • aromatherapy

But it is important to prevent such conditions in advance in order to protect the psyche. Regularly keep a diary of observations in which you write down after what events or before what events nervousness and irritability arise. Indicate in it the cause of irritation, describe the reaction to it. This will help you track and control your feelings, discover repressed emotions, hidden grievances. nine0003

A healthy lifestyle is important in any treatment. Eat right, do not overeat, do not load the body with fatty and junk food. Get regular exercise. Keep a sleep schedule. Keep an eye on him, stay up late, practice good sleep hygiene. It is also necessary to eradicate bad habits from your lifestyle - smoking, alcohol, excessive coffee consumption. All this excites and destabilizes the nervous system.

If you already have diseases of the central nervous system or diseases of a physiological nature, do not start them and treat them in time, since in our body all mechanisms are closely connected. nine0003

Treatment of nervousness with the help of a psychotherapist

With a good specialist, you can solve the problem of increased nervousness faster and easier. Depending on your condition and its causes, he may prescribe medication or psychotherapy for you.

Learn more