9 Tiny Habits That'll Keep You Calm When You're Nervous

Don't let social anxiety control your life.

nervous woman, picking at her lip Peopleimages.com - YuriArcurs | Canva

From a lot of personal experience, I know how self-conscious we can be in certain situations. Nerves mean we’re in our heads and not there at the moment to enjoy it. Here are some ways you can decrease awkwardness and regain a sense of ease and happiness when around other people.

Here are 9 habits that'll keep you calm when you're nervous:

1. Be present to help others be present

If we’re in our heads, trying to second guess what to say next, full of doubts and insecurities, we can’t be present in the moment. Being present and relaxed is the best thing you can do for social confidence. So be present, focus on what’s being said, but do it as a way to help others be present too. Then, you’ll see yourself as a calming guide and leader, and your interaction is a win-win.


RELATED: 9 Practical Ways To Be More Present In Your Life & Achieve Mindfulness

2. Be okay with silence

This one’s huge. Most people fear those "awkward" silences and lulls in conversation. We tend to fill those gaps with our "umms" and "ahhs" to defuse the discomfort. But then you’re just umming and rushing through the conversation. Being OK with silence was a game-changer for me. There’s no rule saying silence must be banished. Chill. Let space appear. You don’t always need to know what to say. Be ok with the uncertainty because it will be there no matter what. Show that you’re ok with silence. There is power here.




3. Relax your shoulders

Often without realising it, we can scrunch up our shoulders and bodies in the face of a seemingly uncomfortable social interaction. But this makes you more nervous and uptight. You can hack this loop by being aware of the tightness in your body and actively letting go. When we let go physically, our minds let go too, which makes us calmer and more intelligent.

4. Slow down

Physically slowing down our movements and our speech brings fast relief. If we’re rushing about and making jerking movements like a twitchy rabbit, we’re making things harder for ourselves. It means we have more data to process in less time, which is stressful. Slow down, and you will be sending a soothing message to your brain that you’re ok with where you are. You’re not resisting reality. This will relax you further.

RELATED: 10 Worrisome Signs You Seriously Need To Slow Down


5. Understand that others are worried and insecure and flawed too

It’s very easy to blow our perception of what others are experiencing out of proportion. Other people often seem far more at ease and together than we think, but they are also dealing with their insecurities and challenges. Believe me. Knowing this helps us take things less seriously, and we feel more connected.

6. Be still

Similar to slowing down, bringing a stillness to your approach will inevitably make you physically looser. This depends on the situation and sometimes it is warranted to be more expressive, especially if the situation is loud. Generally, however, being still in calmer environments boosts your performance and slows your heart rate. Imagine you’re chilling by the pool. No worries, man. Try to avoid doing too much with your body. Let it be. Breathe into your belly and allow it to loosen. A lot of tension is kept here. Again, you’re sending a clear message that things are okay when you’re still, which will garner respect.

7. Smile gently

I’m not talking about continually grinning like a crazy psychopath who needs something urgently. Smile occasionally, do it from within, and do it subtly. Even if you aren’t feeling great. It will ease the body and mind and put you on an upward trajectory that feels good. It will also disarm those you are with, leading to a more harmonious and pleasant interaction, calming you further.

9 Subtle Behaviors That Keep You Calm When You’re NervousPhoto: Rohappy / Shutterstock


RELATED: 17 Types Of Smiles And What Each Means

8. Listen and listen with your whole body

Most of us are all wound up, trying to think of the next clever thing to say. So we barely listen to what’s being said. Listen to their words, and see if you can listen in an overarching way. Listen also to what’s being said in their body language and between the lines. When you expand your outward attention like this, your self-consciousness fades, and you’ll surprise the recipient. How? You’ll be doing what few do — which is to truly get what they’re saying. They will feel heard, and you’ll be relaxed.

9. Let go of self-pressure

I struggled in my teens and twenties because I had such high expectations of myself in social situations. I felt I needed to be funny, talkative, and never quiet. I was very insecure about this and felt shame when I didn’t say much. But there is no particular way you need to behave. Most of the pressure is from you. Let go of the need to do or be anything. This is the true secret to confidence because you’ll realize when there’s no pressure to perform… You had it all along.


RELATED: 6 Affordable Research-Backed Ways To Calm Your Nerves

Alex Mathers is a writer and coach who helps you build a money-making personal brand with your knowledge and skills while staying mentally resilient.