Everyone has found themselves in a situation where sweat begins to appear on their brow; when the world seems to come to a slower pace and dread fills every moment of those extended seconds. The feeling of stressful sweating escalates and grows, up until the point where the very act of sweating is itself something that makes you sweat.
People seldom really give the matter serious attention within the breadth of casual conversation. The reason is fairly clear. It’s because nobody wants to dwell on the fact that they’re susceptible to it. The vast majority of people are. Stress is a natural reaction to situations where we’re uncomfortable. It’s there to help push us away from perceived danger. We all have that response in one form or another. For many of us, it involves breaking out into a sweat. For some, it’s a minor issue. Others have it as a more severe condition known as hyperhidrosis. No matter the exact nature of stress sweating, there are things one can do about it.
Determine where the stress comes from
You should begin by trying to figure out where the stress response is coming from. This probably seems a lot easier than it actually is. For example, you might find yourself breaking out into that sweat when you get up to speak in front of a crowd.
The natural reaction is to assume that crowds make you nervous. But you need to look into it on a much deeper level. What is it about speaking in front of a crowd that evokes the reaction? It might have to do with experiences when you were younger. Or it could be due to someone you know in the audience. Or even just concerns over letting people or groups down.
Another common situation is just feeling stressed over the very concept of stress. This is a complex but common chain of stressful events. People tend to have a few moments where the stress got the better of them, to a level where the situation itself left a dull ache in their heart. The end effect is that the initial trigger isn’t even the issue anymore but rather just fear over anxiety in general.
The upside of sweating it out
Stressful sweating can actually be a good thing though. Our body usually does everything for a reason. When it’s sweating from stress, it’s also trying to alert us of issues we need to take care of.
This is the biggest positive one can find from stressful sweating. It’s difficult to ignore and really insists on one trying to track down the root cause. So when you begin to sweat, pay attention to what was going through your mind in the seconds before it started. To go back to the example of public speaking, you should consider the exact thoughts when looking at the crowd. Not just the feeling in general, but what was going through your head as you faced the crowd in the seconds before the sweating began.
That single moment is the path to tracking down the root cause of the stress. And it might simply be due to public speaking being a nerve-wracking experience in and of itself. In those cases, the fix is as easy as looking for help with public speaking. There are groups out there specifically dedicated to helping people hone their public speaking skills. The same goes for a lot of other causes of stress.
It might even have to do with a physical issue. For example, smoking often causes people to feel undue stress when they want to smoke but are unable to. The link between the desire for nicotine and the increased stress aren’t always even clear.
General coping mechanisms
If the stress is due to a particular fear or event, then one should try to deal with it directly. There are cases when things are more generalized. In those situations, one can develop specific mental tools to stay calm.
Mindfulness is an easy technique that’s become more popular in the past few decades. It simply involves spending five minutes or so every day paying attention to one’s own breathing. You learn to concentrate on the breathing alone rather than letting any thoughts intrude on it. When one is stressed later on, it’s easy to simply fall back into that calm contemplation.
Some people also find that happy or calm memories can hold off fears and jitters. They’ll just focus on those memories when they’re leaping into a new and stressful one. Others find that they’re feeling burned out. In those cases, working with stress involves improving a variety of different parts of life. But whatever the root cause, there’s always something you can do about stress.