Counselors Reveal 6 Reasons Why Nervousness Can Actually Be Productive

Counselors Reveal 6 Reasons Why Nervousness Can Actually Be Productive

nervousnessBetter Life

If you want to be a functional member of society, you need to take on a lot of responsibilities and leave aside nervousness. However, this can become very tiring after a while. You spend most of your time working or going to school, and there’s always a lot of pressure on your shoulders. And even if your life isn’t as busy, you can still feel under a lot of pressure because there will always be things you’ll have to handle, like family issues.

Even if you aren’t under a lot of pressure daily, you can still feel stress from other areas in your life. Maybe you excel in your work life, but your social life stresses you out. Whatever the source may be, everyone experiences stress in their life. Perhaps you are one of the lucky ones that don’t get stressed every day over even the littlest of things.

But even in that case, you won’t be able to avoid stress forever. And, when people are under a lot of pressure, the most natural response is to become nervous. Most people freeze when they start feeling the pressure. They get overwhelmed, their heart starts beating like crazy, and they can’t seem to be able to do anything useful anymore.

But nervousness doesn’t need to be like this. It doesn’t need to stop you from taking on routine tasks. If you use it in your favor, it can make you more productive.

What Is Nervousness?

Nervousness is often conflated with the idea of anxiety, and the terms are used interchangeably. But, in reality, anxiety refers to a disorder, while nervousness is just a natural reaction to stress. The terms have been used as synonyms for so long that some people can’t differentiate the terms. If you find yourself thinking, “this task is giving me so much anxiety,” chances are you are feeling nervous.


Nervousness is a normal response to a stressful situation. When you deal with something important, like giving a presentation, and your stress levels are high, you will feel nervous. When you feel uneasy, your hands get sweaty. Your mouth is dry, and your heart beats fast. You might feel like you aren’t ready for the task or aren’t good enough to do what you have to do.

These feelings are very uncomfortable, and they can feel uncontrollable. The good part is that these feelings go away when you get the stressful situation done. Anxiety is much deeper than that. It’s a disorder, meaning that it doesn’t just go away. It’s something that you have to deal with daily. It might feel like you are living in a constant state of dread. Nervousness and anxiety can seem very similar in action.

Anxious people always get feelings of self-doubt, and they can get the physical symptoms of sweaty palms and dry mouth. But you could argue that nervousness is more like a symptom of anxiety than anything else. Nervousness is a fleeting response to stress. Anxiety is a disorder that you have to deal with every second of every day. That’s the main difference between the terms. Still, don’t be surprised to hear people referring to their nervousness as “anxiety.”

6 Reasons Why Nervousness Can Be Productive

Here are six times your nerves can help you succeed.

1.    Nervousness Can Be An Adrenaline Booster

When you get nervous, your brain pumps adrenaline into your body. That’s why your heart starts racing, and your hands get sweaty. Adrenaline can keep you on edge, and it can help you focus on the task at hand.

Too much adrenaline can be a bad thing. It can overwhelm you and make you feel like you’re frozen in place. But, when you feel that adrenaline rush, the key is to stay on top of it. Take hold of your feelings and try to control the adrenaline instead of letting it control you.

Breathe, focus, and keep your mind clear of all distractions. This way, you can use that adrenaline as motivation. Studies even show that an increased level of stress hormones can elevate your learning capabilities.

2.    Reframe Your Nervousness Into Excitement

Most people seem to think that nervousness is inherently a bad thing. That you can never get over your nerves unless you try to calm down. But researchers seem to disagree. They suggest that reframing your nervousness is better, especially if you want to be productive.

Alison Wood Brooks from Harvard Business School advocates for “anxious reappraisal.” Instead of trying to calm down, accept your feelings and try to reframe them. Nervousness feels an awful lot like excitement. The main difference is how you frame your feelings. In both cases, your heart races, and your adrenaline is pumping.

As long as you accept how you feel, you can control how you use those feelings. Don’t fight the adrenaline; instead, use it positively. Use that rush to give you the energy you need when you have something to do. Trick your brain into thinking you are excited, and you’ll find that you want to start being productive.

3.    Use It To Pinpoint What Scares You

When you’re nervous, it doesn’t happen for no reason. It happens because you care about getting something right, and you’re scared of failing. This fear can be irrational or have some logic behind it. Maybe you’re nervous because you didn’t prepare enough for what you’re about to take on.

Whether the fear is rational or not, it’s holding you back. And it’s something you need to get over if you want to be more confident and productive. Keep track of when you get nervous and why. When you start seeing a pattern, that’s when you can understand what triggered those feelings. Once you pinpoint your fears, you can start working on them. And, when you get over your fears, that’s when they’ll stop getting in your way.


4.    Nervousness Helps You Focus On What You Can Control

When you feel nervous, part of that is because you feel like the world is spiraling out of control. But that’s not actually what’s going on. As long as you make a conscious effort, it can be easier to focus on what you can control in those moments.

When you feel nervous, you are stressed precisely about the things out of your control. So, you need to pinpoint what makes you feel calm in all of that madness. Those are the things you can control, and as long as you focus on them, you can use them to your advantage. Forget about what you can’t control.

Forget about what’s out of your reach. Let the nerves guide you towards certain things and use those things to your advantage. If you need to present something or take an exam, maybe you won’t do it perfectly, but you don’t need to. You need to focus on doing the best you can. Use the skills you have to make the best out of any situation.

5.    It Can Be An Incentive To Reflect

People don’t usually feel like it’s important to reflect on their choices and how their life is going. But, when you start feeling nervous and overwhelmed, that can be a signal that something’s up. And it can be an incentive to reflect and think about what’s going on in your head.

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