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Nine subtle behaviours that keep you calm when you’re nervous

Alex Mathers
4 min readSep 28, 2023


From a lot of personal experience, I know how self-conscious we can be in certain situations. Nerves mean we’re in our heads and not there in the moment to enjoy it.

Here are some ways you can decrease awkwardness and regain a sense of ease and happiness when around other people:

Be present to help others be present.

If we’re in our heads, trying to second guess what to say next, full of doubts and insecurities, we can’t be present in the moment.

Being present and relaxed is the best thing you can do for social confidence.

So be present, focus on what’s being said, but do it as a way to help others be present too.

Then, you’ll see yourself as a calming guide and leader, and your interaction is a win-win.

Be ok with silences.

This one’s huge. Most people fear those ‘awkward’ silences and lulls in conversation.

We tend to fill those gaps with our ‘ums and ahhs’ to defuse the discomfort.

But then you’re just umming and rushing through the conversation. Being ok with silence was a game-changer for me.

There’s no rule saying silence must be banished. Chill. Let space appear. You don’t always need to know what to say.

Be ok with the uncertainty because it will be there no matter what.

Show that you’re ok with silence.

There is power here.

Relax your shoulders.

Often without realising it, we can scrunch up our shoulders and bodies in the face of a seemingly uncomfortable social interaction.

But this makes you more nervous and uptight.

You can hack this loop by being aware of the tightness in your body and actively letting go.

When we let go physically, our minds let go too, which makes us calmer and more intelligent.

Slow down.

Physically slowing down our movements and our speech brings fast relief.