Butterflies in the stomach can happen on any number of occasions, such as a first date, wedding day, job presentation or right before a sporting event. Since stress can have damaging effects on mental and physical health it is important to utilize healthy stress-busting techniques to calm those butterflies. Everyone deals with nervousness in their own way, so find the techniques that work best for you. Techniques may include performing one or two yoga poses before an important speech or using breathing exercises before the big game.
Things You'll Need
- Protein and carbohydrate-rich foods (optional)
- Essential oils (optional)
- Tissues or handkerchief (optional)
Take a deep, slow breath. Breathe in through your nose and simultaneously relax your stomach muscles. Allow your stomach to fill with air and keep inhaling to fill the middle of your chest. You should feel your chest and rib cage expanding. Slowly exhale through your nose and relax your chest and rib cage. Pull your stomach in to force remaining breath out. Stress means that muscles tighten, resulting in shallow breathing. The body recognizes shallow breathing with a fight-or-flight response, according to Madeline Vane, MPH (Masters in Public Health) via Everyday Health, which adds to feelings of stress and tension. Take five or ten deep breaths to relieve tension. You can also try visualization techniques while taking deep breaths, such as visualizing a white sand beach or other "happy place."
Consume some protein and carbohydrates if possible. Protein-rich foods such as salmon, chicken, tuna and whole grains are full of B vitamins, which help you feel less nervous. Carbohydrates such as whole grain pasta, whole wheat breads and rice pasta release serotonin in the brain, thus acting like a mild tranquilizer. Eat vegetables such as bell peppers, mushrooms and and spinach, which also help calm the body.
Skip the coffee or other caffeinated beverages as caffeine makes nervousness worse. Go for an herbal tea such as chamomile, which has calming and soothing properties.
Stay positive. Talk yourself out of nervousness with a pep talk such as repeating empowering phrases such as "I'll be okay" and "I can do this." Replace sentences that begin with "What if..." with "So what?" to help yourself feel better.
Use essential oils to calm nerves, such as lavender essential oil. Place a few drops of the oil on an handkerchief or tissue and breathe the aroma whenever possible.
Tips & Warnings
- Heat contributes to calming the nerves, so try warming heat socks, gloves and heat packs, or take a warm bath or shower if possible.
- Exercise regularly, which helps manage overall stress. Try a few yoga poses or take a quick, brisk walk for an instant stress-buster.
- Tension can build up in the shoulders, neck, jaw and hands, so book a massage to beat stress.
- Short term effects of stress include an elevated heartbeat, back pain, fast breathing and upset stomach, nausea and diarrhea. Long-term effects can include a weakened immune system, muscle pain, heart health issues and skin problems such as acne.