Mental Health

Calming Your Nerves: My Number 1 Strategy for Managing Anxiety

Before I was ever diagnosed with anxiety, I’ve always been a bit of a worrier. I remember when I was around 9 years old, my best friend at the time asked me to spend the day with her at her grandmothers charity shop. I said yes. But I desperately didn’t want to go. So I stopped eating. I was 9 years old. And I haven’t realised how momentous that was until now. Nervousness has never been my friend.

Calming Your Nerves

During my teen years, I never really experienced any anxiety or nervousness at all, on the surface. I was incredibly confident, loud and outgoing. A far cry from any of the words I’d use to describe myself now. But under the surface, I think I was still low key nervous about things going on around me.

And then as soon as my anxiety hit, I’ve experienced nervousness and anxiety like never before. I never in my life thought I’d feel as anxious about literally anything (I suffer with GAD, so I’m kinda low key anxious 24/7 about everything and nothing all at once).

These days, my senses are incredibly heightened. Sometimes, I’ll just wake up and something will feel “off”, which will have me feeling anxious for the entire day. But more so, actual events make me incredibly nervous. My boyfriend going on a plane. A doctors appointment. Even social events. It’s pretty exhausting.

I’ve had counselling and therapy throughout my anxiety journey. One thing my counselor said to me that’s always stuck was:

“You can worry about every potential scenario possible but the thing that actually happens will always be the thing that you didn’t think of”.

And for most cases, she was right. I learnt a lot from her. And I’ve learnt a lot about myself over the years of having anxiety too. But today I want to share my coping strategy for calming your nerves, a strategy which has really helped and after a bit of practice, can really help you too.

How do I deal with calming my nerves?

As well as practicing Yoga and meditation religiously over the last few years which has helped me massively, these other techniques have really proved beneficial and can help with calming your nerves quite a bit. Of course it’s not a miracle cure. And as always, if you’re really suffering, your GP should always be your first call.

Break it down

If it’s a particular event which has my nerves on edge, then breaking things down is a life saver. For example, when I had my hospital appointment for my colposcopy, my nerves were in tatters. So in order to cope (otherwise I would have literally had a breakdown), I broke down the day into sections.

So instead of looking at it as a whole, I broke it down into smaller parts. Part one was getting ready for the appointment. Two was making my way to the hospital. Part 3 was getting to the right department. And so on. A bit like how you might break down a particularly daunting work task into smaller tasks. This is exactly what I did.

Focus on one thing at a time

And within all those little sections of things you need to do in order to get through your nerves, really focus on one at a time. This bit is probably the hardest but after practice (which meditation, mindfulness and Yoga all come in particularly handy for) it does get easier and you can train yourself to zone in and block everything else out to a degree.

Remind yourself of what’s gone right

Often, when we’re in the midst of nerves, we look at the big picture and think what a disaster. Sometimes, the big picture can be detrimental to what we’re trying to achieve. So as well as breaking things down into more manageable tasks and focusing on those individual tasks, it can also really help to remind yourself of what’s going or gone well.

When we’re so nervous about something, we often forget to think about the positive because we’re so wrapped up with trying not to vomit or cry. But actually if you take a step back, the whole thing might not be as bad as what it feels like on the inside.

Going back to my example of my colposcopy appointment, if I successfully managed to get myself ready and get my bag together with everything I need without getting too worked up, that’s a bloody positive thing. If I safely made it to the hospital in one piece and on time then that’s amazing too.

Don’t underestimate the importance of the small stuff. The small achievements along the way to what originally seemed like the biggest, scariest and most daunting task of your life are what really matter. Because all those little things add up and suddenly, you’ve got through it. It sucked. But you did it.

What strategies do you use for calming your nerves? Will you take this with you and give it a go the next time something anxiety provoking comes up?

Calming Your Nerves

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Jenny in Neverland

Twenty-something lifestyle blogger from Essex. Book lover, Slytherin, organisational wizard and enjoys Motorsport, Disney and Yoga.

106 Comments

  1. michelle says:

    such a helpful post, it’s so interesting to see how anxiety affects everyone. we all suffer the same but completely different all at the same time. when i get really anxious i like to really focus on my breathing so that I don’t have to focus on what i’m anxious about. these tools of breaking it down into smaller tasks seems very helpful, i’ll definitely try this the next time i have a doctors appointment because the doctors makes me so nervous. great post jenny. x

    mich / simplymich.com

    1. Focusing on your breathing can work wonders!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this post, so many helpful tips here! I definitely need to start focusing on one thing at a time when I start worrying about having too many tasks 🙂

    Kate | http://www.katelovesx.co.uk

    1. It definitely helps!

  3. When I get anxious, the first thing I look for is support. I need someone who holds me and tells me that things are alright. The next thing is for me to distract myself.

    I think, it’s so important to have someone you can rely on and who can support you in these times.

    1. Having those people around can really help!

  4. These are really good tips. As far as I am concerned, it is really focusing on one thing at a time i need to do more!

    1. It can really help!

  5. Such a helpful post Jenny. I’m a bit like you; Low key anxious 24/7. I’m constantly on edge and ready to run at any moment.

    I’ve tried many strategies to over come this. I recognised some of these in this post, but there are others I haven’t tried!

    Thank you for sharing this with us, both your tips and your story 🙂

    1. You’re welcome, hope they help!

  6. Mykki says:

    I “stim” a lot in situations that make me nervous or anxious – so having a pen that I can click repeatedly or a piece of paper I can fold and unfold as I get my breathing sorted out is immensely helpful.

    1. That’s a really good idea – I might try that this week.

  7. Meditation, yoga, CBT, all of those are great help. When I was younger I didn’t know I was an introvert so I acted like an extrovert. It always felt fake, but I didn’t have words to say I had acute anxiety and just needed to be alone. Now I know what’s wrong, and for me, after lots of therapy, medication is always in the back pocket in case anxiety pushes into panic. I used to just drink, but you can’t really have shots of vodka at 8 am. Right? You are not alone!!

    1. Haha no you can’t! Sadly CBT didn’t do anything for me. And you can’t always bust out the Yoga mat when you’re feeling anxious, depending on where you are! Sadly!

  8. Cloe Provost says:

    Thank for sharing! I think learning to look beyond the immediate moment is one of the most beneficial practices. Often easier said than done for us super anxious people lol.

    1. Definitely easier said than done!

  9. Aww this post <3
    I think for me it's stopping and taking stock, thinking everything through properly. Usually with a cup of tea as that helps to calm me in general.
    But you've shared some excellent tips here too.
    Cora | http://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk/

    1. Great idea. It can be so easy to spiral.

  10. I know if I switch off with a book and rest then it really helps xxx

    1. I wish I could read when I’m anxious.

  11. S.S. Mitchell says:

    Hi Jenny, thanks for this article- I can definitely relate to this. As a fiction writer I find it therapeutic to put it all into my stories. It’s very calming. I’ve been wanting to try yoga for years but I find the thought a bit intimidating. Breaking it down is something I am going to start implementing from your list. I hope it works!

    1. No need to feel intimidated at Yoga, it’s the least intimidating thing in the world!

  12. Meditation has been a huge help in reducing my anxiety, I try and do it on a weekly basis, as and when I need to calm my nerves. Exercise is another thing that helps calm my nerves, getting all that frantic energy out is a great feeling! xx

    Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk

    1. I need to do more meditation for sure!

  13. arshelski.com says:

    this was such a good read. thank you for sharing, I’ll be referring back to this the next time I feel anxious

    arshelski.com

    1. Hope it helps!

  14. I struggle with terrible anxiety so I am going to have to try some of these out! A big one for me is to distract myself. I get super anxious as a passenger in the front seat of a car, so I always make sure to have a book to read of my phone to mess around on so I’m not looking at the road. It helps keep me calm and focused on something other than what is making me nervous!

    Mandi S
    http://www.booksandwildflowers.com

    1. I struggle to focus on other things when I’m anxious sadly!

  15. Really great tips! I’ve suffered with anxiety & panic attacks since my first pregnancy. Sometimes I can let it overwhelm me but most times, I just breathe my way through, whilst I repeat things in my head, usually logical reasons as to why there is no need for me to be anxious. 9/10 that works for me. 🙂

    Sarah 🌺 || Boxnip || Latest Post

    1. I repeat things a lot too!

  16. Thank you for sharing, these are some really useful tips. I especially like the idea of breaking things down into smaller parts as it makes things seem so much less daunting. I’ve found exercise to be really helpful in dealing with my anxiety and I’m looking at getting into yoga too after reading other bloggers experiences!

    1. I’d highly recommend Yoga – I have plenty of blog posts about it!

  17. Sarah says:

    I have had CBT for mine and it’s helped me so much as I have re trained my brain xx

    1. That’s great. Sadly CBT didn’t do anything for me!

  18. This is really interesting and the tips you share are really helpful! I too try and break things down into smaller parts, it seems to help.

    1. It sure does.

  19. Lin Ryals says:

    These are good tips. I love hearing others talk about their anxiety and how they deal with it. There’s always something king can apply to my own life.

    1. Absolutely!

  20. Really useful tips here and easy to implement too x

    1. Thank you x

  21. These are such good tips, Jenny. The advice shared by your counselor makes so much sense, I’ll have to remember that when I start overthinking about something. I love the idea of breaking down a task into smaller manageable steps and seeing the positive achievements along the way. That is really good advice and definitely makes things seem less scary and daunting. Thank you for sharing, great post! <3 xxx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    1. She had plenty of words of wisdom!

  22. Love this post darling, you’ve shared some really great advice. 💜

    With love, Alisha Valerie x | http://www.alishavalerie.com

    1. You’re welcome.

  23. Really interesting post. I always find it interesting to see how others deal and cope with anxiety – especially at times when it is extremely high. I have to agree that Yoga has been a massive help to me when dealing with anxiety and even more recently running has helped me even more so.

    1. Glad you’ve found some things that really help you!

  24. Ellyn Rebecca says:

    I think those are some really good tips. I feel like anxiety is such a complex beast, and whilst it is individual to that person, there are many things that we can all do to help ourselves, and our friends. I often get quite anxious when answering the phone, and whilst it can still take me some time, I have found my own ways to help and I think that’s what is important. Finding what works for you.

    Ellyn x | Life Of A Beauty Nerd

    1. Finding what works for you is so helpful!

  25. Helpful words…

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