How to calm your nerves

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How to calm your nerves
(yoga image by Jorge Casais from

There's little argument that to stay healthy and happy, you must eliminate undue stress and calm your nerves. Those who are "on edge" rarely have positive relationships, as stress almost always has a negative effect on our interactions with each other. Instead of accepting stress and actually becoming accustomed to living life this way, begin the promise to calm your nerves as soon as you realise you need it. For some people, a warm bath in a candlelit room is enough to bring down their stress levels. But for many, a more intensive regimen is necessary. It's not in your head. It is a medically acknowledged problem.

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  1. 1

    Try to recognise some of the more common techniques for reducing stress and inducing calmness. Consider incorporating one or more of the following into your life: yoga, t'ai chixercise, meditation, hypnosis and/or massage.

  2. 2

    Heed the words of the prestigious Mayo Clinic, which emphasises the importance of calm nerves, noting that relaxation isn't just about peace of mind or enjoying a hobby. Relaxation is a process that decreases the wear and tear of life's challenges on your mind and body.

    Practicing relaxation techniques can improve how you physically respond to stress by:

    * Slowing your heart rate
    * Lowering blood pressure
    * Slowing your breathing rate
    * Reducing the need for oxygen
    * Increasing blood flow to major muscles
    * Reducing muscle tension

    Here is what the Mayo Clinic recommends for calming nerves, based on their latest findings:

  3. 3

    Consider autogenic relaxation. Autogenic means something that comes from within you. In this technique, you use both visual imagery and body awareness to reduce stress. You repeat words or suggestions in your mind to help you relax and reduce muscle tension. You may imagine a peaceful place and then focus on controlled, relaxing breathing, slowing your heart rate, or different physical sensations, such as relaxing each arm or leg one by one.

  4. 4

    Progressive muscle relaxation is another option. In this technique, you focus on slowly tensing and then relaxing each muscle group. This helps you focus on the difference between muscle tension and relaxation, and you become more aware of physical sensations. You may choose to start by tensing and relaxing the muscles in your toes and progressively working your way up to your neck and head. Tense your muscles for at least five seconds and then relax for 30 seconds, and repeat.

  5. 5

    Understand the benefits of visualisation. In this technique, you form mental images to take a visual journey to a peaceful, calming place or situation. Try to use as many senses as you can, including smells, sights, sounds and textures. If you imagine relaxing at the ocean, for instance, think about the warmth of the sun, the sound of crashing waves, the feel of the grains of sand and the smell of salt water. You may want to close your eyes, sit in a quiet spot and loosen any tight clothing.

Tips and warnings

  • Cut or eliminate caffeine which certainly can aggravate tattered nerves
  • Reduce your sugar intake
  • Consider a healthy, or at least, healthier diet, eating more fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, seeds and nuts.
  • Force yourself to take breaks from work/being on the computer (if you have to, set a little alarm). Stand up walk around, or close your eyes and do some deep breathing. Raise and lower your shoulders.
  • If you feel stressed take a few moments out, says Tejvan Pettinger, a member of the Sri Chinmoy Meditation Centre. Watch and be aware of your breathing. Breathe naturally and gently; this will have a very powerful, calming influence on your mind. When you breathe in, feel that you are breathing in inner peace. When you breathe out, feel you are exhaling all your anxieties and worries. Relaxation can be this simple - it doesn't have to be complicated at all.
  • Avoid quick fixes of addictions -- don't turn to alcohol or drugs.
  • If you feel that you are beyond calming your own nerves and the techniques above don't work, you may actually have an anxiety disorder or something similar that may need to be medically treated, so be sure to visit your doctor when you begin your regime to cut stress and incorporate relaxation into your life.

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