Is Nervousness Normal?
Everyone experiences nervousness at one time or another, and it`s totally normal. Yes, it doesn`t feel good; it feels like a combination of dread anxiety, dread, and sometimes excitement all at once. When you are nervous, your heart rate may increase, your palms may get sweaty, and you may have a fluttery nervous stomach feeling. Both negative and positive feelings can cause nervousness. It may be a job interview, a first date, or even a funeral. The feeling you have when you are nervous is your body’s stress response. It entails a series of hormonal and physiological responses that can prepare you to handle a perceived or imagined threat.
When you are nervous, it`s your body preparing to fight or flee a threat by boosting adrenaline production. At that moment, your body instantly reacts, as your heart begins to beat faster, your blood pressure rises, and your breathing speeds up, causing your alertness and energy to increase. So nervousness is an entirely natural response to a stressful event. You should also know that it is temporary and gets resolved once the stress has passed. It`s also heart-warming to know that you can control nervousness.
Even though nervousness is a common symptom of anxiety disorders, they’re not the same. Anxiety disorders are psychiatric disorders that develop as a result of some complex factors such as genetics, brain chemistry, and life events. Anxiety disorders are long-lasting and uncontrollable and are many times without treatment. People with anxiety disorder often have severe feelings of worry and nervousness. They may also experience physical and mental symptoms that impact their ability to function. Some of the common symptoms of anxiety disorders are:
- body aches and pain
- stomach aches
- shaking or trembling
- odd sensations in your body
- trouble concentrating
- rapid heartbeat
- chest tightness
How to Overcome Nervousness
As already discussed, nervousness is a normal reaction to certain situations. There are tips that can help you manage nervous feelings. Here are a few:
Don’t Be Afraid of Nervousness
When you`re in an uncomfortable situation, remind yourself that nervousness is normal, and can be helpful. Remember also that nervousness is your body’s way of preparing you for what’s coming, particularly when such things are outside your comfort zone. So let go of your fear and accept that your experiences are entirely natural.
We`re not in total control of the experiences that we have, however, there are some situations that you can prepare for:
- habitually practice for a scheduled work presentation or meeting
- have a friend or loved one accompany you to an event or appointment
- prepare early for work, dates, or other social events
People who don`t go by the aforementioned may be at risk of lack of confidence or worrying, and as a result, experience nervousness.
Talk to Someone
It may be your mom, your best friend, or anyone else you trust. Sharing your feelings with someone you feel comfortable with, so they can help you put things in perspective. Studies show that sharing your feelings with someone else, particularly one who has been through a similar situation, can help you reduce stress and give you a more positive feeling.
Try a Relaxation Technique
Learning to relax is vital in overcoming nervousness and managing stress in general. There are various stress management techniques, and breathing exercises are one of such. Deep breathing works effectively, and you can practice it whenever you feel nervous. Other ways of relaxing are:
- listening to music
- spending time with a pet
- getting a massage
Positive Effects of Anxiety
Anxiety is not entirely bad as people think. There actually are positive effects that come with having anxiety. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Anxiety serves as a warning sign that brings awareness to your current situation. Recurrent worry and nervousness can indicate that some areas of your life need more attention and adjustment because they are off track. It may be your relationship that doesn`t work, your job causing a great deal of stress, or financial issues. So the next time you feel some anxiety, find out what message it has for you, and the necessary adjustments you should make.
Anxiety can help you feel more motivated and prepared for challenges. Students and athletes who experience anxiety, many times, perform better than their counterparts who don`t. People who have some degree of anxiety would usually have good working memory to perform excellently on cognitive tests. Look out for ways that your anxiety creates an incentive for you to be successful in some areas of your life. Leverage your anxiety to put some extra effort into your work, create a good impression, or achieve your goals.
People who have dealt with anxiety are more likely to be more empathetic and understanding of the issues that others have. The experience helps them to be more loving, sensitive, and accepting to their friends and family members who are dealing with similar personal challenges.
Some Anxiety Facts and Statistics
- 6.8 million US adults suffer generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
- 15 million US adults suffer from a social anxiety disorder.
- 45% of employees in the United States experience workplace anxiety.
- About 6 million people in the US have panic disorders.
- More women than men suffered from an anxiety disorder in the past year.
- Over half of college students asked for help for their anxiety problems.
- 19 million Americans suffer from specific phobias.
- As of 2015, 264 million people worldwide had an anxiety disorder.
- Only about a third of people with an anxiety disorder receive treatment.
- Anxiety disorders affect 40 million US adults every year.
- 32.2% of Americans will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lifetime.
- Generalized anxiety disorders are more prevalent in wealthier countries.
- Books about anxiety have increased in sales by 25% in only one year.
- Over 90% of people with generalized anxiety disorder have another psychiatric issue.
- People are more likely to have an anxiety disorder if they have a family member who does.
- 2.2 million Americans suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
- Post-traumatic stress disorder affects about 7%–8% of the US population.
- More people are suffering from phobias that have to do with the irrational fear of insects, germs, heights, or flying.
- 2% of US adults suffer from agoraphobia.
- People with agoraphobia are afraid of waiting in line, open spaces, public places, crowds, and enclosed spaces, such as elevators.
- 1%–2% of US adults suffer separation anxiety disorder.
- People with a separation anxiety disorder fear leaving their home or being separated from loved ones.
- More women than men suffered from an anxiety disorder in the past year.
Now that you Know…
Nervousness and anxiety can be entirely normal, as you have seen. They have some potential benefits, and can also hinder many aspects of your life such as your relationships, career, and personal aspirations. You`re advised to seek professional help if nervousness or anxiety hinder you from living your life as you desire. A doctor or therapist can tell if your symptoms meet the criteria of an anxiety disorder, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, or social anxiety disorder (SAD). They will also come up with a treatment plan that can help you deal with the condition.