The Science of Nervousness ~ Kwentology

Whether you're waiting for an exam, about to start an important presentation or at the start of a race. We've all experienced nervousness. But, why do we get nervous? Well, by looking at a professional athletes could help us understand how to effectively cope with it.

What Happens to the Body When Nervous?

Image of Nervous Breakdown
In stressful situations, your brain sends a signal from the pituitary gland all the way to the kidneys where your adrenal gland resides. This is where adrenaline is released. You felt it before the rapid heart rate, dilating pupils and increase circulation in your muscles.

It's all part of the FIGHT or FLIGHT response. Which developed in our evolutionary history to help us survive.

When Life is in Danger

However, this response isn't all-or-nothing. There are degrees of every action according to the perceived, threat or importance you attach the outcome.

So, something like an interview which presents a challenge. Stimulates the same biological reaction that a threats your life death—just to a smaller degree.

Feel those nervous butterflies in your stomach? This is because adrenaline helps redirect blood and energy to the most important parts of your body during stress. Like the heart, muscles and away from your digestive system causing the blood vessels to close around your stomach leading to that tingling sensation.

Mental Imagery Techniques

So, had a professional athletes handle the stress and nervous? The concept of mental imagery is a widely used method in popular sport.
  • With cognitive specific imagery, an athlete simply imagines himself practicing a technique or skill before competing or training.

While it may sound crazy this actually stimulates the relevant neurons in the brain and has been shown to enhance the specific skill.
  • Motivational specific imagery, on the other hand, encourages an athletes to recall the feeling of winning an event for beating a competitor as a motivational tool.
  • Finally, motivational general mastery is commonly used by athletes to feel more confident. Again by simply a imagining themselves as focused tough and having positive thoughts prior to competition. Athletes are able to improve performance and overcome nervous.

All We Need is Courage

Confidence in particular is a consistent factor that distinguishes successful athletes from others and a major focus for professional coaches.

So, next time you feel those nervous kickin. Try preparing like an Olympian would. What are you waiting for? On your mark, get set, GO!
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