To a certain extent, nerves are a good thing. They push you to prepare yourself for an impending event. However, when the nerves begin to negatively affect you on a physical and mental level, you need to make a change.
Worry and stress can have extremely detrimental effects on a person. Your breathing becomes more shallow, your insides feel like they’re in a heavy-duty liquidiser, and the looming event flashes before you at random intervals, dragging with it an inescapable blast of panic. Negative thinking and forecasting skip alongside the toxic nerves. You imagine every possible worst case scenario. You’re filled with an uncomfortable sense of heat. Your heart beats rapidly like the tapping of storm-chased raindrops against the window pane. Your chest constricts. Sleep evades you.
Worry grabs hold of your windpipe and threatens to strangle you. This scarily strong demon is extremely difficult to shake off. For the most part, nerves are useless and destructive. I say “for the most part” because we all need a certain amount of nerves to get us through situations that require us to perform.
This week, I was asked to give a talk to a group of sixth year boys. Public speaking. Acting confident and knowledgeable. Flashbacks of being called Tits Galore by teenage lads the moment I began to mature. The idea of it terrified me. However, the fact that I agreed to do it demonstrates the recent rise in my confidence. I realise that I am no longer a self-conscious, super-sensitive teen. I don’t care what the fellas in the class think of me. I just want to pass on some interesting information to them. And if I relax, it could even be an enjoyable and worthwhile experience.
Having said that, I still suffered a small dose of nerves, which is normal. Luckily, these pesky flutters are no longer debilitating. I recognise and acknowledge them and use them to my advantage. If I felt no nerves at all, I wouldn’t have read up on the topic or organised myself for the class. I was also perfectly aware that the run-up to the day would be more difficult than the actual event. So, any time I felt a sharp pang of anxiety, I immediately batted it away before it dug its dirty claws in.
After all that, on the morning of the talk, I got a call to inform me that the class had to be postponed. I felt a mixture of disappointment, relief and dread. Part of me just wanted to get it over with, which proves that the anticipation of the imagined scenario bothered me more than the event itself.
Luckily, I hadn’t stayed up the previous night fretting as it would have been a total waste of time and energy. Even if it had gone ahead, excessive anxiety about it would still be pointless. Nervousness sickens you, and robs you of your appetite, peace and enjoyment.
Now, I have another week to wait. It is in my hands as to how best to proceed. I can stress about it for another seven days. Or I can not. Simple as that.
What to do when the nerves are getting on your nerves:
- Bludgeon the anxiety the moment it threatens to attack.
- Prepare adequately for the upcoming event.
- Be confident- repeat affirmations, play your favourite songs, dress up nice, talk to people who respect and believe in you.
- Recognise how talented and intelligent you are and acknowledge all you have to offer the world.
- I know it’s scary but head straight for the eye of the storm. In other words, just do it. You will be relieved and proud of yourself afterwards and your confidence will soar. And events you once stressed about will feel like a light summer breeze in comparison.