Why Do We Get Nervous?


We all know how it feels to be nervous. Having an upcoming test? A performance, or competition, or just have trouble talking in front of people? Of course the list goes on and on about how things that make us nervous or uncomfortable. from the smallest thing to the extremes. But where do these feelings come from? Why do we even have these feelings? How can we cope with nervousness? Let’s find out.

If we look back to history, nervousness was a pretty useful adaptation to early man. If we were all fearless, we would have walked straight into a dangerous place and become a little snack for a larger, fiercer animal animal. Nervousness helps us take caution around things and be careful.

Also we have this wonderful organ called the Adrenal Gland right around our kidney. In stressful situations, our brain sends a signal to it to release adrenaline to our blood vessels to make us more alert. Our muscles become more responsive, our blood pumps faster, and our eyes dilate. Our bodies do their best to conserve energy and so, energy and blood is taken away from places where they aren’t needed like in our digestive system, and our Urinary system. That’s right, you could literally “poop your pants” given the situation. First time soldiers could experience this when they are first taken to war, experiencing the danger of war and it’s nervousness for the first time. So since energy is taken from our stomachs, we have the feeling of “Butterflies in your stomach”.

Now that we know why and how we get nervous, how can we cope with it? Well we have the ability to mentally imagine and rehearse things in our head. So imagining doing the activity, the speech, test, sport, or performance in your head helps. Also, recalling the feeling of victory or success helps keep confidence and motivation right before doing the task.

So remember, being nervous is totally okay. It is part of our evolutionary adaptation, and our bodies are just preparing us for a flight or fight response. Remain calm, and visualize the prize. So what are you waiting for……just do it.

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