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How To Calm Nerves—A Helpful Guide to Overcoming Anxiety

How To Calm Nerves—A Helpful Guide to Overcoming Anxiety

Most of us have been there—heart pounding, palms sweating, mind racing. Nerves can sneak up on us in the most inconvenient moments, turning a simple task into a challenge. Whether it’s a social gathering, an interview, a public speaking event, or an on-stage audition, these situations can trigger our body’s fight-or-flight response, leaving us overwhelmed and worried

But what if we could learn to harness this energy, calm our nerves, and face these challenges with confidence? This article describes how to calm nerves using different strategies, from quick fixes to long-term solutions.

Quick Ways To Calm Nerves and Anxiety

Knowing quick ways to mitigate anxiety can be incredibly helpful, especially when faced with situations that demand our immediate attention and reaction. Five strategies for managing nerves include:

  1. Breathing techniques 
  2. 5-4-3-2-1 grounding exercises
  3. Progressive muscle relaxation
  4. Visualization techniques
  5. Beta-blockers for occasional nerves

Breathing Techniques

Source: Ivan Samkov

Nervousness or anxiety can trigger our body’s fight-or-flight response, leading to rapid and shallow breathing that can intensify stress. Techniques like pursed lip breathing can help counteract this response by slowing breathing and letting your body relax. It allows for better oxygen exchange, helping you calm nerves and reduce anxiety.

Other breathing techniques that can help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Alternate-nostril breathing—It involves inhaling through one nostril while closing the other and then switching, which helps balance the nervous system and calm the mind
  • Diaphragmatic or belly breathing—This breathing exercise encourages full oxygen exchange and slows the heartbeat, alleviating the symptoms of anxiety
  • 4-7-8 Breathing—It entails inhaling for a count of four, holding the breath for a count of seven, and exhaling for a count of eight, helping the body relax

5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Exercises

Grounding exercises distract you from anxiety by helping you refocus on the present moment. The 5-4-3-2-1 technique involves focusing on your five senses or tangible objects. For instance, you could identify the following:

  1. Five things you can see
  2. Four things you can touch
  3. Three things you can hear
  4. Two things you can smell
  5. One thing you can taste 

Progressive Muscle Relaxation 

When we’re anxious or stressed, our muscles often tense up. Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) helps us recognize and release this tension. It entails tensing and then relaxing each muscle group and can affect the body in several ways, including tension release and alleviating the symptoms of stress and anxiety.

To use PMR to calm nerves, follow these five steps:

  1. Start by tensing the muscles in your toes
  2. Hold for a few seconds, and then relax
  3. Move up to your feet and repeat the process
  4. Continue to work your way up through your body, tensing and relaxing each muscle group
  5. For the best results, breathe deeply and regularly as you perform these exercises

Visualization Techniques

Visualization techniques involve creating a mental image of a calming or positive scene or outcome, which helps reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. Visualization can be effective if you need to escape the source of your anxiety and refocus your thoughts.

Common visualization methods include:

  • Guided imagery—Imagine a peaceful place or situation, using all senses to add details to the image
  • Outcome visualization—Picture yourself achieving a goal or successfully handling a stressful situation
  • Process visualization—Imagine yourself going through the steps needed to achieve a goal, handle a stressful situation, or perform a task

Using Beta-Blockers To Calm Nerves Fast

Beta-blockers are primarily used to manage heart-related conditions, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart failure
  • Angina (chest pain)
  • Abnormal heart rhythms

These substances block the effects of epinephrine or adrenaline, a chemical your body produces in response to stress or anxiety. Elevated adrenaline levels can lead to:

  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Excessive sweating
  • Rapid breathing

Once beta-blockers kick in, they can slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure, reducing jitteriness and nervousness that contribute to anxiety. 

Two beta-blockers commonly used for situational anxiety are:

  1. Propranolol
  2. Atenolol

Check out the table below for more information about these drugs:


Typical Dose for Anxiety

Treatment Horizon


10–40 mg

Short-term—used when needed


50 mg

Short–term—used occasionally

To benefit from these medications, you should take them two hours before the stressful event. 

How To Get Beta-Blockers Prescribed for Anxiety

You can only get beta-blockers with your doctor’s prescription. While these drugs are generally safe, they can interact with other medicines and specific medical conditions. To avoid the risk of adverse reactions, you should consult your healthcare provider before using them for anxiety.

The biggest challenge is that the use of beta-blockers, especially in situations that require performance like exams and interviews, is rather stigmatized. Most people find it challenging to tell their doctor why they need them.

The encouraging news is that telemedicine clinics allow you to discuss anxiety issues and get beta-blockers prescribed from your home. Kick, an online performance medicine clinic, connects you with licensed healthcare providers who can evaluate your condition and prescribe the appropriate beta-blocker for you in no time.

Source: Monstera Production

Kick—Instant Solution To Calm Nerves and Anxiety

Kick streamlines the process of getting propranolol and atenolol for occasional or performance anxiety, helping you regain control in stressful situations. The consultation happens online and takes only ten minutes, eliminating the need to join queues of patients waiting for an in-person appointment with a doctor. 

Once you submit your details, our doctor will assess your health status to determine the best treatment for you. If Kick isn’t the best solution for your needs, you won’t pay for the initial consultation as per our Doctor Guarantee.

If you’re a good fit for the program, your medications will be delivered to your doorstep or local pharmacy in a few days. With the discreet packaging, you can take the drugs anywhere, knowing that your privacy is maintained.

How Kick Works

Kick’s performance anxiety program has helped many patients cope with nerves on various occasions, as evidenced by numerous positive reviews on Trustpilot.

To benefit from Kick, follow these three steps:

  1. Visit the signup page to begin your 10-minute consultation
  2. Fill us in on your health history and current issues
  3. Provide your delivery and payment details

Kick also offers ongoing support—If you have specific queries about the medications or the program, you can text your doctor through the online platform and get answers in the shortest time possible.

Source: Yan Krukau

Side Effects of Beta-Blockers

While beta-blockers can be effective for nerves, they carry the risk of side effects, although patients who follow the instructions of their healthcare provider rarely experience adverse reactions.

Common side effects of beta-blockers include:

  • Cold hands or feet
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Difficulty sleeping

This list isn’t exhaustive. Inform your doctor immediately if you experience adverse reactions while on these medications.

Best Ways To Calm Nerves in the Long Term

Source: Andrea Piacquadio 

If you frequently find yourself feeling anxious, consider more comprehensive strategies for coping with this condition. These strategies typically address the root of the issue, providing long-term relief from chronic problems like social and generalized anxiety disorder.

Here are four ways to calm nerves in the long term:

  1. Implement lifestyle changes
  2. Embrace meditation
  3. Consider therapy and counseling
  4. Use antidepressants

Implement Lifestyle Changes

Adopting a healthy lifestyle can help you cope with nerves and anxiety, improving your quality of life. Practical changes that may help include:

  • Maintaining a balanced diet—Consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can help regulate your energy levels and improve cognitive function. Avoiding excess caffeine and alcohol, which can trigger anxiety, is also beneficial
  • Exercising regularly—Engaging in physical activity, such as walking, jogging, or doing yoga, for at least 30 minutes a day can help reduce anxiety by boosting your mood and acting as a natural stress reliever
  • Getting adequate sleep—Aim for 7–9 hours of sleep per night. Establish a regular sleep schedule and create a restful environment to improve your sleep quality

Embrace Meditation

Meditation is a powerful tool for calming nerves and reducing anxiety. It trains your attention and awareness, leading to a mentally clear and emotionally calm state. Over time, you can develop and refine different meditation techniques, helping you cope with chronic anxiety.

For example, you can use body scan meditation to focus your attention on different parts of your body, starting from your toes and working your way up to your head. As you mentally scan each part of your body, observe any sensations, emotions, or thoughts associated with it. Observation without judgment can help you become more aware of your physical presence in the world, grounding you in the present moment and helping to alleviate feelings of anxiety.

Consider Therapy and Counseling

Therapy and counseling can provide a supportive environment to explore and address the root causes of anxiety, helping you reach a lasting solution. Specific types of therapy that can be effective in calming nerves in the long term include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)—It helps you identify and change thought patterns that lead to anxiety
  • Exposure therapy—A type of CBT that gradually exposes you to the ideas or objects that trigger your anxiety or fear in a controlled and supportive environment
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)—ACT helps you develop psychological flexibility by teaching you to accept difficult thoughts and feelings in a non-judgmental way
  • Group therapy—It provides a platform for individuals to share the strategies or tricks they employ when facing similar challenges

Use Antidepressants 

Your doctor may also recommend using antidepressants to manage anxiety symptoms. Check out the table below for more details on the medications typically prescribed to patients with chronic anxiety:


Typical Dose for Anxiety

Treatment Horizon

Potential Side Effects

Zoloft (sertraline) 

25–200 mg once per day


  • Nausea

  • Dry mouth

  • Sleep problems

  • Loss of appetite

Prozac (fluoxetine)

20–60 mg once per day


  • Increased sweating

  • Stomach upset

  • Reduced sex drive

Effexor (venlafaxine)

75–225 mg once per day


  • Dizziness

  • Nervousness

  • Abnormal dreams

Cymbalta (duloxetine)

30–120 mg once per day


  • Constipation

  • Fatigue

  • Loss of appetite

While they can be effective, medications alone probably won’t help you understand the cause of your problems. To get comprehensive treatment, consider combining them with extensive counseling and therapy.

Featured image source: Karolina Grabowska