Don’t worry! How to Calm your Nerves in any Situation
It’s easy to say “Worry won’t help the situation” or “worrying never did anyone good” when the person’s on the other side, but sometimes it’s easier said than done.
Here are our tips to calm your nerves in any situation.
Yes, it’s true there are many situations where worrying does more harm than good, but then they also say every cloud has a silver lining. Although counterproductive in many cases, being a worry wart can actually help you in a few ways, but only when used in a productive manner.
Why are you so worried?
Think about all the things you worry about. Think about all the things that you worry about, and don’t do anything about. It could be you’ve got a huge exam. It could be you’re attending an interview. It could be you’ve got a huge race to run. It could be you’ve got to go for some important medical checkups. It could be you’re getting married tomorrow…
…naturally, you’re going to worry about these things; it’s what we call human nature, but what about preparing yourself mentally in a positive way using your worry to help ease the situation?
Mind over Matter
Putting yourself through a “mental rehearsal” may sound far-fetched and this is exactly what a number of performers, soldiers, athletes, musicians, and many more professional people do. What they do is prepare themselves mentally for the worst outcome while performing at their best.
A football player may mentally visualise their offence tactics to beat their tough defense opponents. A soldier might mentally go over their strategic plan in case things don’t go as planned. A surgeon may run over their operating procedure prior to going into a risky surgery. So, you might not be a doctor, actor or the next David Beckham, but if you tweak a few things and adopt some of their ‘worry tactics’ and use them in a productive way, you’ll see they can be used in almost any scenario whether it’s at home or at work.
Why People Worry
But if it’s that easy, why do we even worry? Most of the time, we worry excessively because we’re overcome with the feeling of being ill-prepared. In most cases, we are prepared and just lacking in confidence. Put simply, putting yourself through a ‘mental rehearsal’ is just like mentally convincing yourself that you really are ready to go. It is a process, with the first step being able to identify the root of your worries then coming up with a plan B if things do happen to go not as planned. After you’ve identified the source of your worry and come up with a backup plan, you can mentally rehearse these options until you feel more prepared than ever, resulting in your worries simply disappearing.
While you’re patting yourself on the back and using positive affirmations to boost your confidence, there are also other tactics you’ll have to apply, which are considered to have the opposite effect. These tactics are what is referred to as ‘defensive pessimism’, which sometimes involves setting lower expectations of yourself than usual and vividly conjuring up very negative mental images of what could go wrong; it’s about using your anxiety for a good outcome.
This may seem like a silly idea and to some it may seem as counter-productive, but you need to be real. Disasters and negative outcomes do happen, and if you’re always focusing on the positive then it will have an even worse effect if something not-so-great was to happen.
How to Never Stress Unnecessarily Again
Recognise your worries and figure out what it is exactly that’s worrying you. Is it because you feel unprepared? Do you feel like it’s just all too much? Once you’ve pinpointed the root of the worry, you’ll be able to tackle it better and use it productively in your mental rehearsal.
Afterwards, you’ll need to go against the grain and do exactly what most people will tell you to not to do. Get into a meditative state of mind and jot down all the things that could possibly go wrong from the smallest error on your behalf to utter disaster. By pinpointing these negative worries such as forgetting your lines in a speech, you’ll be able to approach them better – you’ll be prepared!
Plans B, C, D, and…
The next step is to come up with a realistic and doable backup plan and practice it. Try to come up with multiple contingency plans and write them down next to your concern. This is what means to have a game plan. The more you can recognise these different scenarios and come up with alternative plans, the more you’ll be prepared. Replay these backup plans in your mind until they’re deeply ingrained and you no longer have to take notes.
Making your visualisations as real as possible will make it even more real. Visualise your environment. Think about the different senses. Visualise your emotions. Being able to this will prepare you for the real deal, for example, imagining your physical environment will help you to incorporate your physical movements, thus giving you a better chance to give an award-winning performance.
Worrying is normal; it shows you actually care. It’s really important to stay real. Remember there’s always the possibility of failure and nothing is ever 100% guaranteed, but by eliminating the unknown through mental rehearsal, you’ll be able to go in with a fresh head and a fog-free brain allowing you to overcome your worries and master nerve-racking ordeals.
What do you do to calm your nerves? Some people join running clubs… and you?