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  • Writer's pictureGeorgina Sturmer

Coping with nerves ahead of a big event

I was asked for some tips on coping with nerves ahead of a proposal. This might sound like a very specific area of anxiety - and likely to be something that we are not going to do very often in our lives. But even if you're not planning a proposal, the thoughts and feelings surrounding a big event or task might be leaving you feeling nervous. Here's what I told Psychreg:


So the big day is approaching and you’re feeling overwhelmed with nerves. Not the wedding day, but something that might feel even more nerve-wracking: the proposal.

The first thing to remember is that feeling nervous is a natural response to the situation. Your nerves are likely to be a tangled mixture of all kinds of feelings. You’re likely to feel excited. But you also might feel overwhelmed with all the planning and details and secrecy. Especially if you’re trying to create an elaborate or ‘perfect’ proposal. And you might also feel worried or frightened about how it’s going to go. Again, these are all natural responses to this situation. Let’s look at how you can acknowledge and manage your feelings without being overwhelmed by them:


  • If you’re planning an elaborate proposal then keep track of the details so that the planning doesn’t overwhelm you. Acknowledge that something might not quite go according to plan. If you’re becoming stressed trying to deliver the perfect proposal, be kind to yourself. Remind yourself that your partner isn’t looking for someone who can deliver perfection in a single moment. They are looking for someone to be there for the rest of their lives.

  • Remember that it’s your day too. Don’t forget to think about your own needs and enjoyment. This can be difficult, especially if we have ‘people pleasing’ tendencies. But think about creating a special moment that will be shared equally between the two of you.

  • ‘Catch the catastrophe’. If you’re prone to negative thinking then carrying out a proposal could be a minefield. When you notice negative thoughts coming in, catch them before they spiral. Are they rational? Or are they irrational, or overly critical? Are you feeling negative or nervous about something that you simply can’t control? Can you visualise yourself taking the negative thoughts out of your head, screwing them up like a piece of paper, and throwing them away?

  • Calming techniques. Different things work for different people. I often suggest ‘five finger breathing’ as a way to stay calm. Or take a moment to visualise something that feels like calmness to you. Maybe it’s a person or a place or a happy memory - or perhaps it’s a future image of yourself and your partner.

Keen to explore more? In counselling we can take a deeper look at how you feel about yourself, and how it impacts on your daily life. Click here to contact me, or click here to book a 30-minute introductory call.



Coping with nerves ahead of a big event


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