9 Actions to Take When You’re Feeling Nervous & Insecure

9 Actions to Take When You’re Feeling Nervous & Insecure

9 Actions to Take When You’re Feeling Nervous & Insecure

Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind.
If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained. 
~Arthur Somers Roche

We all battle nerves and insecurities, and when we lose the battle, they rob us of our potential.

Personally I’ve battled insecurities quite a bit in my life. I know what it’s like to go from feeling as powerful as a lioness, to feeling as meek as a caterpillar. And when you feel meek, you act meek, and so people perceive you as such. Little do they know there’s so much strength inside of you.

I’ve had situations, one extremely embarrassing one in particular, where nerves and insecurities took me over so tremendously that I could barely speak. My body shook, my words stuttered, nothing I said made any sense, and my ego walked away with its tail in between its legs. Not my most impressive moment.

I’ve come a long way in learning how to fight my security attacking demons but it’s taken years to learn the tricks and maneuvers that help me find my strength when I feel weakness starting to surface. In a world where first impressions are so important, it’s so imperative that we put our best, strongest, bravest foot forward. 

Below are some of my best tips for battling the nerves and insecurities that arise just when you really need to shine the most. Since I started using these tips I haven’t had one of those crushingly ego bruising embarrassing moments that I wish I could erase from my memory. And each tip is incredibly easy to implement so I hope they help you a bit as well.

1. Breathe Deep.

Breathing deeply is one of the absolute best ways to calm a nervous mind. Bringing in an abundance of oxygen deep into your diaphragm is a well proven way to reduce stress and anxiety (especially if you feel an anxiety attack coming on).

When we’re anxious we start to take fast shallow breathes directly from our chests instead of our diaphragms. This prevents your blood from being properly oxygenated which throws off the oxygen/carbon dioxide balance. This then signals a stress response which results in an increased heart rate, dizziness, muscle tension and other physical symptoms of anxiety. So when you’re starting to feel anxious you need to consciously ensure that you are taking deep, long, even breaths straight into your diaphragm. 

If you have an interview, or you need to speak in front of a group, or you want to approach someone you admire, or any other situation where you feel your nerves and insecurities starting to take over every cell of your body, stop and take a series of long deep breaths (preferably with your eyes closed) where you hold the oxygen in your diaphragm for a few seconds each time before releasing it. There is no faster or easier way to calm yourself down.

It sounds too good to be true but trust me, it is so effective.

2. Check Your Posture.

When we’re feeling insecure, we often try to make ourselves appear smaller. So we hunch over, fold our arms, and let our eyes fall to the floor. Your body is simply responding to how your brain feels.

What I’ve found is that your brain can just as easily respond to what your body is telling it. So when you’re feeling your insecurities come on immediately check your posture. Are you slouching forward? What are your arms doing? Be aware of your body. Throw your shoulders back and extend your neck upwards as if a string is lifting you up.

If you can, do some stretching exercises before the event that’s causing your insecurities to rise up. Stretch with your arms out and open wide. In doing so you are not only relaxing your muscles but you’re also making yourself as physically big as you can possibly be. Instead of letting your body cower in fear you are using your body to tell your brain that you are big and powerful, tall and proud. You are worthy.

3. Smile.

Another incredibly easy yet effective way to use your body to get your brain to relax – smile. Smiling is one of the most powerful ways to not only enhance the moods of those around you but to completely alter your mood in the process.

If you’re about to meet someone or do something that’s incredibly scary to you, start smiling. You may not feel like it, every cell in your body may be telling you that the last thing you want to do is put a smile on your face, but do it anyway. It will immediately relax you. It’s like a energy zap to your brain telling it that all is okay, there’s really nothing to fear, and you’re going to enjoy every second of what you’re about to experience.

Whether you’re feeling insecure, stressed, anxious, down, bored, whatever, just start smiling – big and wide – throw in a little laugh if you want to, you will immediately see things through a new, happier, more secure and relaxed light.

4. Remember A Time When You Felt Really Powerful.

Even the most nervous and insecure have had one time or another where they were at their best self, their most powerful, most self-assured, most secure. If you’re about to meet someone or do something that rattles your chakras, take a moment and close your eyes. Think about that time when for whatever reason all of your demons faded away and you were able to accomplish just what you hoped to accomplish, with an elegance and grace that suprised even yourself.

Who was that person? What allowed her to be so relaxed, so self-assured? What was she tapping into?

That person was you. And you were tapping into your core. The true essence of who you are before all the life circumstances and ego bruising mishaps came along that try to smother your true potential.

That strong version of you is still there, there are simply a few layers on top that you need to learn how to peel away. Picture yourself removing those dusty layers, one by one, so that the you underneath can shine.

So as you step forward into the big, bad and scary situation that has you feeling the jitters, picture the core you, dusty layers peeled away… the you that has shown so brightly in the past when you were feeling your best, picture that person stepping forward.

5. Accept it. Don’t Fight It.

When I used to struggle endlessly with nerves one of the biggest mistakes I made was to try and fight it. And so the internal dialogue would go something like this “Stop it. Relax. Calm down. Do not mess this up. OMG my body’s shaking, I’m not going to be able to speak, I suck.”

How do you think the end result of that internal dialogue went? Not good.

I’ve learned that if I’m starting to feel nervous, instead of fighting it and yelling at myself internally to calm the heck down (which only ever backfires), I’m way better off acknowledging my nerves in a loving way, respecting that they’re merely there to show me how important something is to me, and then giving myself permission to feel nervous.

We all get nervous, it’s human nature, by accepting it you can lean into it, gently and lovingly, and then it simply does not take you over. I’m sure you’ve heard it a thousand times by now - what you resist persists. Once you stop resisting you stop becoming your own worst enemy.

I’ve learned to accept my nerves so much that I can now even joke, with a big smile on my face, about my own nervousness. And shockingly enough, instead of feeling like it’s doomsday when my nerves start to overflow, it can even feel fun and exciting. Yup, I said it, it can feel fun and exciting to feel nervous – sometimes ;)

6. Ask Yourself These Questions.

A little perspective goes a long way. So whenever you’re feeling like your nerves are going to take you over, ask yourself what you’re really afraid of? What is the absolute worst case scenario? If that worst case scenario were to come true, would it be the end of your world? In five years, would you still be hating yourself for it? Would there be absolutely no lessons you could learn from it? Would it just completely annihilate your life?

Chances are, you’d live, you’d love and you’d move on. As they say, the greatest fear is fear itself.

7. Think About Who or What You’re Trying to Help.

Usually our insecurities come up when we’re hoping to get something from someone. Whether that’s attention, a better grade, a new job, a new client, admiration, applause, you name it.

The more we want something from someone the more reason for our nerves and insecurities to spike.

A very simple way to take the edge off of that wanting is to reframe it in terms of how you can help the person you’re hoping to get something from. Chances are you are in fact trying to help them in some way. Maybe you’re helping them with a problem, or you’re helping to make a discussion they’re leading richer and more interesting, or you’re offering the skills that could make someone’s life easier.

Reframe what you’re presenting so that you’re coming from a place of generosity. The less you feel like you’re trying to take from someone, the more you’ll calm down and present what you have to give in a stronger and more abundant light.

Nerves and insecurities come from a feeling of lack. Focus on what you have to give and how you can help and your nerves will fall to the wayside.

8. Don’t Over Compensate.

When we’re feeling really insecure sometimes we try to overcompensate with extremely bold statements and outlandish promises or we try to be someone we’re not, because heaven forbid we just be ourselves.

Remember your core, the true you, you at your greatest potential. That you is not flashy, cavalier or arrogant. That you is calm, composed, graceful, relaxed and strong.

If you’re being fake it will be transparent and will only increase your own feelings of lack. You are better than that. Use these tips and you’ll be able to shine just as you are.

9. Breathe.

Lastly, we’re back to the number one tip. If you forget all other tips above, just remember to take deep long abundant breaths into your diaphragm. That one thing alone will make whatever scary situation you’re walking into feel not so bad after all.

Do you struggle with nerves and insecurities? What tricks work for you?

 

 

 

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23 Responses to 9 Actions to Take When You’re Feeling Nervous & Insecure

  1. Tania says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post and found it very honest and real and useful.

  2. Sarah says:

    Yes, I too found this article helpful – thank you. In particular, I really like the tip to remember a time that we were powerful. I need to more on this also, since it is sometimes so much easier to remember the embarassments (in fact, I was at a recent conference where Maston Kipp asked us to remember our most powerful/happy moment and I truly went blank. It took me almost a day before I could think of a genuine one!

    Krishnamurti always said that the worst part is truly the anticipation and that usually the event itself is o.k (with some rare exceptions) and I’ve found that to be true .

    • Liz says:

      Totally agree Sarah, the anticipation is always the worst! And it is so much easier to remember embarrassing moments. I’ve been learning more and more that you really have to make the conscious decision (and keep making it everyday) to focus on the positive instead of the negative, cause the negative is always trying to steal all the attention! xo

  3. [...] are some things that have left me feeling nervous lately. How about you? Here are some ways to [...]

  4. GREAT article – bookmarked for future reference. Anxiety problems have robbed me of many experiences purely because I knew I’d be too anxious to attend. This made me think of the DBT I’m going to be starting. I really appreciate the way you were able to clearly break this down and explain it. Big help!

  5. Marion Wakelin says:

    Thanks for your help – I have a trip worrying me for forthcoming weekend, but agree the event usually OK! It is all the waiting around to set off which is worst.

  6. [...] not easy to hear our soul voice through all the doubt and confusion circulating around in our [...]

  7. Pat says:

    Great Article. I actually believe the advice as it makes practical sense to me. I especially like the part where we focus on giving and not taking. It’s sad, but when we have something to offer it makes us more important and more confident. As a selfless person the ego can be low, but focusing on how I can help the greater good puts the focus away from me and makes me more sure of what I’m doing. Love these steps, thanks again.

  8. Kellen Pratt says:

    "Nerves and insecurities come from a feeling of lack. Focus on what you have to give and how you can help and your nerves will fall to the wayside" Really stood out to me and is helpful for me just thinking about things in this way

  9. Kellen says:

    “Nerves and insecurities come from a feeling of lack. Focus on what you have to give and how you can help and your nerves will fall to the wayside”
    This really stood out to me and is helpful for me just thinking about things in this way, thank you.

  10. Wow! Actual help! Most places just tell to pretend you are alone or that if you screw up it okay but no place mentions how you actually feel when you mess up or give tips that are in my opinion fool proof! Thanks so much!

  11. For The Love Of Ballet says:

    I have a ballet audition coming up and have almost gotten to the point where
    I was so nervous I didn’t want to do it. With the help of some teachers, I have
    Decided to pursue my choice of auditioning. I am still a bit nervous even though
    It’s in about a month or so, but your tips make so much sense and are so simple
    And helpful. I feel much better now and hope I can perform to the best of my
    Ability when I audition. Once I get these tips memorized I shall hope to do
    My best! Thank you!

  12. sean says:

    I find that when I am insecure with other people, the bottom line is my intentions. Why am I here? What am I doing? Once I know and understand the answers to those questions – while realizing that there is no reason for anyone to judge me because my intentions are good – then I am able to be cool, calm, and collected. I also remember how I never get nervous in front of celebrities. I could care less about celebrities. Then I think, “Wait…If I don’t even care about celebrities, then why am I getting so worked up over this person (or these people)?” Perspective is everything.
    No matter what, though, just a tab bit of insecurity always remains because I am sensitive and I cannot control the reactions of others. I simply want others to return whatever I am putting out but people are like slot machines: you put in however much you want and you never know what you’re going to get back. Most just take and take without anything in return. But very rarely there will be that one jackpot that will make all your efforts worth it. They will see you for who you really are.

  13. Meytal says:

    Thank you for taking the time to write this. It’s very honest and gives realistic advice that is so actionable that I was doing it as I read. Smiling in particular made me feel better instantly, so did deep breathing and thinking about what I have to offer versus what I’m taking. So thank you for putting these simple truths out into the world.

  14. Sam says:

    I have missed out on many opportunities due to allowing my nerves to take over and not doing what i want. My problem is I know there is nothing to be scared of or worried about I just cant seem to grab control of my feelings. Today i have felt terrible all day after agreeing to do something that put me out of my comfort zone, but hopefully with these helpful words and tips i can overcome my anxieties and worries and enjoy the experience – like i know i will!

  15. Megan says:

    Thank you SO MUCH! This is a must read for anyone dealing with this. Best advice I have gotten

  16. Rhyan says:

    This really helps. all you have to do is, breathe, smile, and think about a time you felt powerful. :)

  17. Rhyan says:

    Pardon me. *All

  18. Disha says:

    really different article…and worth trying.. previously I used to be calm and composed but recently I have started being nervous … don’t know why?

  19. sofie says:

    Thank you so much for this insightful article. I really appreciate it.

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