How to Get Rid of Nervousness

Five Methods:Handling Short-term NervesIncorporating Relaxation Techniques into Your DayDealing With Your NervousnessCaring for YourselfKnowing When to Seek Medical Help

Nervousness or anxiety can be the result of both psychological and physiological factors. It is perfectly normal to feel anxious or nervous, but for some people it is very difficult to control their anxieties. There are diagnosable anxiety disorders which may require medication and therapy or counselling, but there are more moderate steps and actions you can take to help relieve your nervousness.

Method 1
Handling Short-term Nerves

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    Take some deep breaths. If you have a big moment coming up, it's highly likely that you will be feeling nervous and anxious as it draws closer. You may not able to completely get rid of this feeling, but you can take steps to control your nervousness. Deep breathing slows your heart rate and reduces your blood pressure. Sit up straight and breathe deeply in through your nose. Place your hand on your abdomen so you can feel your lungs filling with air.
    • After holding it for a few seconds, exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this until you feel your heart slow and you become more relaxed. Try to clear your mind and just concentrate on your breathing.[1]
    • To maintain a regular rhythm when breathing count from one to five as you breathe in and then again from one to five as you breathe out.[2]
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    Practice and prepare. If you have something like a presentation or a job interview that makes you nervous, practising can help make the event seem more familiar. Have a trusted friend sit through your presentation or ask you common interview questions. Practice also helps if you’re planning to confront someone about something awkward.
    • Tired of your roommate leaving dirty dishes in the sink? Rehearse your grievances privately and then address your roommate with confidence.
    • Rehearsing for more unstructured events like parties can be difficult. Still, the process of rehearsing a few jokes and stories could help calm your nerves.
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    Rationalise your fears. If you are nervous about a job interview or a presentation, think "what's the worst that could happen?" You could have an interview that goes horribly wrong, but really it's not the end of the world. It's completely normal to nervous about a significant event in your life, but remember there are plenty more opportunities to come, even if it doesn't feel like it at the time.[3]
    • If you are able to adopt a slightly more rounded appreciation of these events you may find new confidence and be able to present yourself more successfully.
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    Take a moment to visualize. If you feel the nervousness gathering, take a few moments to try and visualize something calming and soothing. Close your eyes and picture something that makes you feel safe. It could be anything from a calm sea, to your cat, or a happy childhood memory.[4]
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    Listen to music. Listening to some slow, mellow music or even some nature sounds can help you to relax and lower your heart rate down and make you generally calmer. Listening to more uptempo music, and singing your heart out along with it, can be cathartic too.[5]

Method 2
Incorporating Relaxation Techniques into Your Day

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    Practice regular deep breathing. The same deep breathing exercises that you can use to calm yourself down in a stressful moment can be incorporated into your daily routine. Doing regular deep breathing will give you a time set aside to relax. Sit up straight and fill your lungs with air by breathing in through both your nose and your mouth. Count up to five as you breathe in. If you can't get to five at first, don't force it.
    • Breathe out slowly, letting the air leave your lungs in a slow and controlled manner. Count to five again as you breathe out.
    • Repeat this and you will begin to feel calmer and more relaxed.
    • Practice this relaxed breathing for three to five minutes, two or three times a day. Or whenever you feel stressed and nervous.[6]
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    Give yourself a massage. You can use a tennis ball to massage your shoulders. Begin by wrapping your shoulders and neck in a warm towel for 10 minutes. While wearing the warm wrap, close your eyes and relax your shoulder, neck and back and chest muscles. The heat will ease your muscles and loosen them. You can increase the relaxation by giving your back a massage. After removing the warm towel, stand with you back to a wall.
    • Place a tennis ball or foam roller between your back and the wall. Push the ball against the wall with your back, holding it with the part of your back you’re trying to massage.
    • Apply gentle pressure for 15 seconds by leaning into the ball. Release the pressure and move the ball to another spot.[7]
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    Try progressive muscle relaxation. The goal here is to systematically tense and then relax your different muscle groups. Doing this will ease the tension in your muscles and help you to feel more relaxed all over your body, while allowing you to focus in on each muscle group in turn.You will gain more awareness of physical sensations and recognise when you are involuntarily tensing your muscles.
    • Begin with your toes. Tense your muscles there for 5 seconds, then relax for 30 seconds.[8]
    • Next you would tense and relax your calf muscles. Continue tensing and relaxing all your muscle groups one-by-one up as you travel up your body.
    • You can also begin at the top (your head) and work your way down to the bottom.
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    Use autogenic relaxation. Autogenic relaxation combines visualization and body awareness to help you relax. It brings together a few different relaxation techniques into a single method. Begin by closing your eyes and picturing a relaxing scene. Breathe slowly and deeply. As you concentrate on your breathing gradually relax different parts of your body, one at a time. Start with your legs, then move on to your arms, your shoulders, and so on.[9]
    • You should feel your heart rate slowing as you relax.
    • Instead of focusing on an image, you can try repeating relaxing words or phrases.
    • The word autogenic refers to something that comes from within you.
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    Meditate. Regular meditation may actually help your brain deal more effectively with stress. Even just a few minutes of meditation each day can help to ease your anxiety. It's a good thing to incorporate into your daily routine in you suffer from nervousness or anxiety regularly. To meditate, simply place both feet on the floor and sit up straight. Close your eyes, recite your chosen mantra and let all the other thoughts drift away.
    • As you repeat the mantra concentrate on your breathing with deep slow rhythmic breaths.
    • Try putting one hand on your stomach as you breathe in and out and aligning your breathing with your mantra recitation.[10]
    • Your mantra can be anything you like. Just keep it positive. Try “I am at peace”.

Method 3
Dealing With Your Nervousness

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    Don't expect perfection. Often people experience nervousness and anxiety because they are put under, or put themselves under, pressure to perform perfectly at everything they do. Not every day will be perfect. You will have setbacks and disappointments. Learning to deal with them will help you to become stronger and more independent.[11]
    • It's important to remember that life is often complicated and difficult, and sometimes you have to be able to roll with the punches.
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    Confront your anxiety. Try to figure out the cause of your nervousness. Are you worried about your job? Your love life? Money? Socializing at a work party? Once you’ve located the source of your nervousness, work on shifting your perspective. Rather than thinking “My job is unfulfilling,” think “My job is a way for me to do other more fulfilling things in my life.”[12]
    • If your anxiety is associated with a particular place, go to that place and confront the anxiety head on. If you panic when you get into a lift one day, go back into one the following day.[13]
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    Challenge recurring irrational thoughts with rational ones. Write down when something makes you feel nervous and why. Then go back through them, and begin to challenge them rationally.[14] Talking to someone can help, as can keeping a journal. Rather than dwelling on nervous thoughts, exorcise them by writing them down in a journal.
    • Let your journal “remember” your nervous thoughts for you can free your mind up to do other things.[15]
    • Keeping a journal is also a good way of tracking the things that make you nervous. Looking back on something that stressed you out in the past but is over now can offer some much-needed perspective.[16]
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    Embarrass yourself. Perhaps your nervousness stems from a fear of embarrassment. If that’s the case, then try purposefully embarrassing yourself in mild ways so you can get used to the feeling. Try handing out lemons to strangers for no reason.[17] The more you expose yourself to uncomfortable situations the more you will chase the fear and anxiety away.[18]
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    Become someone else. Devise an alter ego, complete with a fake name and back story. Use this alter ego in unfamiliar situations or in situations of little consequence. This allows you to get used to things like small talk and casual flirting. Of course, do not, under any circumstances, use your alter ego in situations—like job interviews or dates—where your duplicity could have serious repercussions![19]
    • Think of it as a fun way to get used to being in situations that you would normally find stressful and don't take it seriously.

Method 4
Caring for Yourself

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    Get regular exercise. Regular exercise can greatly reduce nervousness. It helps relax certain neurotransmitters and tires out your muscles, which decreases anxiety levels. It has the added benefit of being good for you, improving your sleep and your self-esteem.[20]
    • Just taking a short walk can help to relieve anxiety. Getting outside in the fresh air can also have a refreshing and rejuvenating effect.
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    Get plenty of sleep. Too many people get too little sleep, which can result in increased stress levels and other serious health conditions. When you’re tired, it becomes more difficult to distinguish between justified and unjustified nervousness.[21] The average adult should get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Adopt a regular sleep schedule and stick to it.[22]
    • To ensure a good night’s sleep, try a relaxation exercise before bed. Deep breathing, stretching and progressive muscle relaxation can all help.
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    Eat a healthy balanced diet. A good healthy diet will help provide you with all the minerals and nutrients you need to stay healthy and active. A poor diet can lead to fluctuating blood sugar levels, which can produce bodily sensations similar to anxiety. A good diet and regular exercise will lower this risk.[23]
    • Have plenty of complex carbohydrates, such as bread, potatoes and pasta. But cut down on simple carbohydrates, such as biscuits, chocolate bars, crisps, fizzy drinks, and beer.[24]
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    Limit your caffeine intake. Coffee has its benefits, but the caffeine in coffee (not to mention other drinks like soda and energy drinks) is a stimulant that can increase anxiety. Gradually try to cut down on your caffeine intake. Consider keeping a caffeine diary for a few days to document how much you consume and work on lowering this amount over a few weeks.[25]
    • If you are having trouble sleeping, it can be helpful to cut out caffeine altogether in the late afternoon and evening.
    • Consider trying decaffeinated teas and coffees and incorporating these into your daily tea and coffee intake.

Method 5
Knowing When to Seek Medical Help

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    Evaluate your nervousness. The tips above can help you to relax and deal with day-to-day fears and anxieties, but if your nervousness is chronic and severe you may need to seek help from a doctor. If you find it exceptionally difficult to deal with your nervousness, make an appointment with your doctor to talk about it. There are a number of possible diagnoses, including Generalised Anxiety Disorder and depression.[26]
    • A feature of Generalised Anxiety Disorder can be experiencing intense nervousness when there is no obvious trigger.[27]
    • If your nervousness is having a real impact on your daily life, go to see a doctor.
    • If you've had thoughts of self-harming, or suicide, contact your doctor, or a friend or relative that you can trust straight-away.[28]
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    Be honest with your doctor. It's important to be up-front and honest if you go to see your doctor to talk about your nervousness. It can be difficult to talk about your feelings, but you should do your best to give as clear a picture as possible and not leave anything out. She is there to help and needs as much information as possible to make a diagnosis and recommend the best course of action for you to take.
    • Think through what you want to say before you go. If you have been keeping track of your moods and the things that cause you to become overly nervous or anxious, share this information with the doctor.
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    Don't be scared by the diagnosis. If your doctor tells you that you are suffering from Generalised Anxiety Disorder or Clinical Depression, don't think that you are being cast out from everybody else. It is estimated that one in every 25 people in the UK are affected by Generalised Anxiety Disorder.[29] Talk about what these diagnoses mean with your doctor.
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    Talk through the treatment options. There are a number of different ways to try to overcome your nervousness, including psychological treatments and medication. Your doctor will also most likely recommend you exercise regularly, eat healthily, stop smoking, and cut down on alcohol and caffeine.[30]
    • Your treatment may start with a period of self-help overseen by your doctor. You may do this alone, or in a group.
    • Some psychological treatments you may be prescribed, including cognitive behavioural therapy, which is aimed at altering how you react to situations.[31]
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    Understand the medications that could be prescribed. If the initial treatments are unsuccessful, your doctor may prescribe a drug to treat your anxiety. Be sure to discuss all the possible medications fully with your doctor, including potential side-effects and the initial duration of the treatment. There are a variety of drugs which can be prescribed depending on your symptoms.[32] The main ones are:
    • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This is a type of anti-depressant which increases the serotonin in your brain. SSRIs are usually the first type of drug you will be offered.[33]
    • Serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). If the SSRIs have not helped your anxiety, your doctor may prescribe you an SNRI. This is an anti-depressant drug which increases the amount of serotonin and noradrenaline in your brain.
    • Pregabalin. You may be prescribed pregabalin if SSRIs and SNRIs are unsuitable for you. This drug is an anticonvulsant usually prescribed for those with conditions such as epilepsy, which has been shown to be beneficial for those suffering anxiety.
    • Benzodiazepines. These types of drugs are sedatives which are very effective at countering anxiety, but which can only be taken for short periods. Your doctor may prescribe a benzodiazepine during a severe period of anxiety as a short-term treatment.[34]
    • As with any medication, follow the given instructions closely and stay in regular contact with your doctor.


  • Relaxation techniques take practice. Keep at it if a technique doesn’t work right away.[35]


  • If your nervousness or anxiety is severe, you should consider seeking help from a professional.

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Categories: Overcoming Shyness & Insecurities