The Physical Signs of Nervousness

Nervousness can result from situations that involve stress or fear.
Nervousness can result from situations that involve stress or fear. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

The signs of nervousness are difficult to conceal, and they are very obvious to onlookers. For the person experiencing the nervousness, the excitable state is a direct result of stressful or fearful situations. Such situations might include speaking in front of a crowd, performing for an audience, or meeting someone new. The physical signs of nervousness can be successfully treated once properly identified.

Profuse Sweating

Sweating is one of the earliest signs of nervousness. Typically, the perspiring begins on your forehead and neck. The palms of your hands and the soles of your feet might also become sweaty.

Heart Palpitations

Heart palpitations are felt in the chest and neck when you become nervous. It might seem that your heart is beating right out of your chest. Heart palpitations are a normal side effect of nervousness and no reason for alarm, unless you have a history of heart ailments.

Difficulty Breathing

When you are nervous, it can seem that the walls are closing in on you as you struggle to catch your breath. Your breathing is labored, and it is obvious to those around you that you are struggling for each breath. Anxiety and nervousness are the culprits behind your breathlessness. As you begin to calm down, your breathing will go back to normal.

Trouble Swallowing

One of the worst things that someone who is nervous can do is attempt to eat or swallow liquids, especially in front of others. They might experience the sensation that something is stuck in the throat or they might begin to gag for fear of choking. Consuming food or liquids should take place after the nervous situation has passed, to avoid choking.

Shaky Hands or Legs

When you are nervous, you might feel as though your knees are “knocking” together because your legs are so shaky. Your hands are also obvious indicators of nervousness, as they can tremble uncontrollably when you are in a nerve-inducing situation. Sitting down or holding your hands together can help alleviate the trembling.


For people who suffer from nervousness, dizziness is a very real problem that can hinder the ability to walk or even stand upright. They can feel lightheaded, and, in severe cases of nervousness they might faint. Extra caution should be taken to prevent a severe fall or injury. Several anti-anxiety medicines are available to alleviate the dizziness.

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