Your Ultimate Nerves & Anxiety Toolkit: Science-Backed Tips

Find effective strategies for finding your calm.

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Overcoming Nerves: A Journey to Inner Strength

Stepping into the bustling atmosphere of London’s West End for the WICKED auditions, my heart raced with anticipation and nerves. The air crackled with energy as the epic belting voices of those who auditioned before me reverberated through the halls. At that moment, my nerves, followed by intense anxiety, skyrocketed, threatening to overwhelm me. The pressure to perform amidst such talent felt immense, and self-doubt crept in. However, drawing upon a reservoir of inner strength, I took a deep breath and summoned the courage to step forward. It was a pivotal moment, a test of my resilience in the face of anxiety. Little did I know that this experience would become a catalyst for my journey toward mastering anxiety and discovering science-backed techniques to navigate moments of heightened stress and uncertainty.

When Anxiety Struck: Finding Comfort in Shared Vulnerability

One of my most anxious moments in memory was when a turbulent flight to Australia became a harrowing experience despite my usual calm flight passenger demeanor. Panic threatened to engulf me as the plane rocked violently, dropping up and down amidst the turbulence. Desperate for reassurance, I reached out and grabbed the hand of the stranger beside me, who was also overwhelmed with fear. Though turbulence is a regular occurrence during flights, this particular episode’s intensity was beyond tolerable for both of us. In a spontaneous gesture of solidarity, we found solace in prayer, seeking comfort in each other’s shared vulnerability.

Discover your ultimate nerves and anxiety toolkit: science-backed tips to conquer stress. Find effective strategies for finding your calm.

These memories, though initially distressing, have become invaluable tools for self-reflection. They have taught me what truly calms me in moments of nerves and anxiety, climbing in intensity to full-blown panic – the power of self-talk, deep breathing, and human connection. While I didn’t look to science immediately after these events, I’ve since drawn upon these experiences to develop strategies for managing anxiety, not only for myself but also to extend support to others facing similar challenges.

Demystifying Nerves and Anxiety: Distinguishing Between Them and Effective Coping Strategies for Both

Nerves are a natural response to unfamiliar or challenging situations. They manifest as temporary apprehension or unease. They often arise before specific events, including symptoms like jitteriness or heightened alertness.

In contrast, anxiety transcends mere nerves, representing a pervasive emotional state characterized by excessive worry and fear. Unlike nerves, anxiety tends to persist beyond the immediate moment and can become chronic if left unaddressed, interfering with daily functioning. By understanding these distinctions and utilizing science-backed techniques, there are simple strategies to navigate nerves and anxiety effectively, empowering myself and others to confront similar challenges with resilience and understanding.

Empowering Coping Strategies

  1. Understanding Brain Functions: Acknowledging the interplay between the primal and higher functions of the brain can provide a foundation for managing anxiety. Recognizing that both parts are working to protect us can help defuse anxious thoughts.
  2. Self-Talk: Encouraging positive self-talk can serve as a powerful ally against anxiety. Speaking affirmations aloud or internally can soothe the restless whispers of fear and provide a sense of reassurance.
  3. Deep Breathing: Utilizing deep breathing techniques can reduce anxiety by activating the body’s relaxation response. By taking slow, deep breaths, individuals can regulate their nervous system and alleviate feelings of stress and tension. One of my clients likes to breathe in on a chosen mantra and out on another one, for example, ‘I am safe, I am calm.’
  4. Spending Time Outdoors: Stepping outside, regardless of the weather, offers a simple yet effective coping mechanism. Engaging in a calming walk amidst nature can provide solace and a break from the suffocating grip of anxiety. I have a client who will do this and look for a flower or plant, taking Time to study its design and intricacies intentionally; it distracts her brain and brings her back from worry.
  5. Moments of Stillness Through Meditation: Practicing stillness through meditation can be transformative. Even amidst chaos, carving out Time for quiet reflection or guided meditation can ground the mind in the present moment. I believe journaling is another way to meditate. I created a journal for creative minds and combined it with Life Coaching here.
  6. Seeking Support: Seeking support from loved ones or helplines is crucial. Reaching out reminds individuals that they are not alone in their struggles and fosters a sense of connection and solidarity.
  7. Incorporating Physical Activity: Incorporating physical activity into daily routines can be instrumental in managing anxiety. Engaging in activities like yoga, jogging, or hitting the gym releases endorphins, offering a much-needed respite from the relentless onslaught of worry.

Calming An Emotional Storm Within

I applied a few of these techniques when entering the MRI machine for my brain scan, and I vividly recall the overwhelming sense of confinement as they clamped my head and slid me into the narrow cylinder of the machine. However, the sensation of being pinned down, coupled with the loud noise, triggered waves of anxiety and panic within me.

Instinctively, I began to utilize the first three steps mentioned above. I started by talking to myself, whispering reassurance that I was safe. I focused on taking deep breaths, consciously calming my nervous system and preventing it from spiraling into panic. In a moment of reflection, I thanked my brain for its automatic response to perceived threats; it was trying to keep me safe, and I reminded it that I was safe. Acknowledging its efforts and instructing it to calm down, I regained control amidst the chaos.

Discover your ultimate nerves and anxiety toolkit: science-backed tips to conquer stress. Find effective strategies for finding your calm.

Whether you’re experiencing short-term nerves or enduring persistent anxiety, I hope you discover effective coping mechanisms. Furthermore, while seeking medical advice is crucial for personalized support, these science-based tips aim to complement professional guidance seamlessly. I’ve personally witnessed the transformative effects of these strategies on individuals grappling with anxiety. With empathy, understanding, and shared resources, we can collectively navigate anxiety’s challenges and progress toward enhanced emotional resilience and inner tranquility.

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I'm Lara, creativity cheerleader! 

G'day from this Aussie dynamo turned London lass, who embraced the Mama life in Melbourne before embarking on life in Atlanta, USA. With qualifications in arts education, life coaching, singing, dancing, and acting, I've sprinkled two decades of experience into my wild ride as a career artist. Cheers to big dreams and even bigger adventures! 

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