If you’re here reading this page, then you’ve probably got a problem.
A prettyembarrassing problem. Somethingyou try to hide from the world. Something you wish you could stop instantly.
I’m about to show youwhat to do if you sweat all the time because of social anxiety or nervousness. And here’s why I’m qualified to talk about this…
A few years ago,my armpits would be absolutely drenched in sweat in almost any public place. I would sweat inside class or walking around outside. Even standing in lineat the grocery store mademy shirt damp and sticky under the armpits because of nervousness.I would even sweat when the temperaturewas cold, which made my shirt both wet AND cold – talk about an uncomfortable sensation!
So I know this problem can be very frustrating. It’s something you want to get rid of quickly.
I remember buyingstronger deodorantsand changingmy shirt in the middle of the day. I alsoremember usingthe hand dryers in the school bathrooms to dry my shirt armpits so I could feel a bit more comfortable and to get rid of the stains. (Hoping nobody walked inwhile I was doing it!)
Othercommon areas for nervous sweating are the palms, face, etc. Sweating on the palms/hands can cause big difficulties because it makes most regular jobs very difficult, even shaking someone’s hand.
First let’s get something straight:
Is Your Sweating Caused By NervousnessOr Hyperhidrosis?
What is hyperhydrosis? It’s when someone’s sweat glands are overactive —they produce too much sweat when a persondoesn’t need it. Hyperhidrosisis a physical problem with someone’s body — and people often go to surgery to fix it.
However, if you’re reading this article, then there’s a good chance that you do not have hyperhidrosis. The question you need to ask yourself is: “When do I sweat?”
My answerto that would have been: “Only when I’m around people.Especially in more high pressure situations like talking in front ofgroups of people.” So my sweating was caused by my social anxiety or feeling nervous inside. WhenI was sitting at home alone I would not sweat, my armpits were usuallydry as a bone. But stepping out of the house I would usually start to sweat.
So if you sweat a lot even when you’re alone and feeling relaxed, then you may have hyperhydrosis. A physical problem with how your sweat glands work. But if you basically only sweat when you’re feeling nervous or anxious, like insideor just before a social situation, then your sweating has a different mental cause.
Now let’s move on to what you reallywant to know — how to stop the sweating!
Are You Attacking The Symptoms Or The Cause?
Buying stronger deodorants, changing your shirt multipletimes a day and keeping your arms tightly pressed to your sides. All these are ways of attacking the symptomsof sweating.
Just one dog’s way of coping with the struggle.
However, the real wayto stop nervous sweating is byfixing the root cause of your sweating. Since your sweating is only triggered in some situations, the root cause is mental.
You’re not sweating because of the heat. You’re also not sweating because your sweat glands are broken. You’re sweating becausethe“fight or flight response” in your brain has beentriggered.The fact is, whenever you feel anxious, nervous, stressed, etc… it means the “fight or flight” survival part of your brain has been triggered. This is the part of your brain that makes your heart beat faster or hands tremble when you’re nervous. And it’s alsowhat causesnervous sweating.
What Triggers Your Fight Or Flight Response?
If you have social anxiety, then the simplest answer I can give you is: When you think you’re about to be rejected. Another way of looking at it: When you think something shameful about you is about to be exposed.
And this is why sweating is a vicious cycle for most people, including myself for many years.
You think if people noticeyou sweating, they would instantly look down on you. They would judge you to be not confident or weird or even gross. That’s why you desperately want the sweat to dry up and stop… and you desperately want to hide it from everyone.
You believe sweating is a shameful flaw that needs to be hidden. So what happens is that whenever you start sweating a little, you start to worry about it.This makes you feel more nervous, which makes you sweat more. So you get more nervous, sweat more. And on and on… a downward spiral.
ThereforeI’m aboutto make a weird statement, which I feel is 100% true for people who have social anxiety:
Overcome Shame, And You Overcome Sweating
I remember listening to Dr. David D. Burns tell a story ofhow he treated a man who had a nervous sweating problem in just one evening. (In case you don’t know, Dr. Burns wrote what may be THE most popular book of all time about cognitive behavioural therapy.)
Here’s what happened…
The man came in to Dr. Burn’stherapy office, saying that he really hated how much he sweat from nervousness, especially when talking to attractive women.
And Dr. Burns told him: “I can promise you I can get rid of the problem permanently in just one evening. But it won’t be easy. If you promise to do exactly what I tell you, then I can fix this problem. But you have to follow my directions exactly.” (I’m paraphrasing what I remember here.)
The man agreed, because he wanted to get rid of his nervous sweating no matter what. So Dr. Burns told the man to come back to his office next Thursday so they could get to work.
Dr. David D. Burns Shows A Nervous Sweaty Man His “Shame Attacking” Exercise
When the man came back to the office next week, he found Dr. Burns dressed very casually in a t shirt and jeans. And he was holding a water bottle. To the man’ssurprise, Dr. Burns told him that they would be going for a walk instead of sitting in the therapy office.
As they walked outside, Dr. Burns reminded the man how he had promised to do exactly what he said to cure the nervous sweating. The man agreed again.
Soon they came to a busy convenience store. Dr. Burns opened the water bottle and started splashing water onto his armpits.
“What are you doing!?!” the man exclaimed.
“Here, put some water on your armpits too,” said the therapist, acting like this was totally normal.
The man reluctantly did it too. Now they both looked like they had just been running in a marathon, all sweaty.
“Now I want you to go inside this convenience store, point at your armpits and loudly tell everyone how sweaty they are,” the doctor told him.
“I can’t do that!” the man cried. He was busy trying to HIDE his wet armpits from the people walking into the store.
“Okay, if I do it first, then will you promise to do it after me?” asked the doctor. The nervous man couldn’t believe his well educated therapist would do this, and he agreed.
Sure enough, Dr. Burns walked into the convenience store. He lifted up one of his arms to reveal a big wet stain, and loudly said “Hey look how much I’m sweating today! Wow it sure is hot outside!”
The man looked from the outside amazed. A couple minutes later, Dr. Burns walked back outside and the man knew it was his turn. He copied what he has saw the doctor doing, lifting his arm and pointing out how sweaty he was to everyone in the busy convenience store, including the attractive woman working behind the counter.
Most people ignored him. Two or three people looked up before going back to their shopping or conversations. And 2 minutes later the man walked back outside, feeling exhilarated from doing something so far outside his comfort zone.
Dr. Burns and the man went to a couple more stores, repeating this exercise. And when Dr. Burns followed up with the man a few weeks, then a few months later… the man told him that his sweating problem was fixed.
Why Did The Man’s Nervous Sweating Stop?
So why did that extreme exercise work for the man? Because it attacked the root cause of his sweating – shame. In fact, Dr. Burns even calls it a “shame attacking exercise.”
“If you put shame in a petri dish, it needs three ingredients to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence, and judgment. If you put the same amount of shame in the petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can’t survive.” – Brene Brown
By exposing the shameful thing for all to see instead of keeping it a secret, the shame fades away.
Of course, there are less extreme ways to get over shame about your nervous sweating. Oneof the approaches I personally teach to my students is unconditional self acceptance. It takes a bit more time to work than one evening, but I think it’s easier for most people with social anxiety than thevery difficult exercise I told in this story.
Just remember that the more you feel ashamed of something and try to hide it, the more nervous it will make you. This is why nervous sweating turns into a vicious cycle for many people. In this article I’ve given you a BIG hint about how to fix the problem.
Overcome the shame, and you overcome the sweating. I still remember the first time I was listening to stand up comedian Louis CK talk about how sweaty he was on stage. I was amazed at how someone could sweat, but not be ashamed about it. That was my first hint, and now I very rarely sweat from nervousness.
Excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis, can also happen as a symptom of social anxiety disorder. In fact, according to the International Hyperhidrosis Society, up to 32 percent of people with social anxiety experience hyperhidrosis.How do people cope with social anxiety? ›
Among the different kinds of psychotherapy available, cognitive behavioral therapy — which involves making changes to the way you think and feel about a situation, which, in turn, can help you modify your behavior — is a helpful way to approach social anxiety.Why do I get so sweaty in social situations? ›
Why do we sweat when we're nervous? Stress, anxiety and embarrassment release hormones that make you sweat. Nervous sweating is a common sweating disorder and a byproduct of anxiety. An external stimulus (like a first date or large audience) makes you anxious with nervous sweats.Why do I start sweating when people look at me? ›
In general, if the excessive sweating you fear only occurs in situations where others can see you, never when you're alone, that's a strong indication it's a type of Social Phobia. If you search the Internet, you'll find lots of medications and even surgery offered for this condition.Does anxiety sweating go away? ›
As your body recovers from the active stress response, excessive sweating should subside and you should return to your normal self. Keep in mind that it can take up to 20 minutes or more for the body to recover from a major stress response. But this is normal and shouldn't be a cause for concern.How do I get rid of social anxiety sweating? ›
- Let Go and Relax.
- Try Meditation, Visualization or Yoga.
- Dress to Sweat Less and Stress Less.
- Limit “Sweat Triggers” from Your Diet.
- Drink Your Water!
- Consider a Home Remedy.
- Splash Some Cool Water on Your Face and Wrists.
- Carry a Handkerchief or Baby Wipes.
For some people it gets better as they get older. But for many people it does not go away on its own without treatment. It's important to get help if you are having symptoms. There are treatments that can help you manage it.Why is my social anxiety getting worse? ›
Social anxiety disorder symptoms can change over time. They may flare up if you're facing a lot of changes, stress or demands in your life. Although avoiding situations that produce anxiety may make you feel better in the short term, your anxiety is likely to continue over the long term if you don't get treatment.Is social anxiety hard to overcome? ›
Overcoming social anxiety is by no means easy. You'll have times where you think negatively and slip back into old habits. If you're feeling run down or tired, you may find yourself feeling more anxious than normal, but it doesn't mean you've failed.Do people with anxiety sweat more? ›
When you feel anxious or nervous, your body creates more heat than someone with a healthier weight, causing your skin to sweat even more as a result.
Additionally, if certain events like public speaking, test-taking, or interviews cause you to sweat excessively, you mave have hyperhidrosis that is triggered by feelings of anxiety in stressful moments. This type of sweating is often reffered to as stress sweating.How do I stop my face from sweating in public? ›
Tips for daily life
applying antiperspirant before bed and in the morning. keeping a soft, absorbent towel in your bag, desk, or car to help dry excess sweat. using plain, unscented face powder to help absorb moisture. avoiding spicy foods and caffeine, both of which can increase sweating.
Generalized hyperhidrosis is often a symptom of an underlying health condition, including metabolic disorders (such as hyperthyroidism), diabetes, infections, or lymphatic tumors. Excessive sweating can also result from alcohol abuse or withdrawal, or be brought on by certain medications, particularly antidepressants.Why do I have social anxiety? ›
It can be linked to a history of abuse, bullying, or teasing. Shy kids are also more likely to become socially anxious adults, as are children with overbearing or controlling parents. If you develop a health condition that draws attention to your appearance or voice, that could trigger social anxiety, too.What anxiety medication helps with sweating? ›
For more general social anxiety, your doctor or therapist might prescribe an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor). Examples are sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), and fluoxetine (Prozac). They help you feel less anxious, which, in turn, makes you sweat less.How do I cope with excessive sweating? ›
- wear loose-fitting clothes to minimise signs of sweating.
- wear socks that absorb moisture and change your socks at least twice a day if possible.
- wear leather shoes and try to wear different shoes day to day.
Other Mental Health Conditions Cause Sweating, Too
Vermani says some of the most common include: Social anxiety disorder. Panic disorder. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
Anxiety disorders don't necessarily get worse with age, but the number of people suffering from anxiety changes across the lifespan. Anxiety becomes more common with older age and is most common among middle-aged adults.Why can't I overcome social anxiety? ›
While it may seem impossible to overcome a feared social situation, you can do it by taking it one small step at a time. The key is to start with a situation that you can handle and gradually work your way up to more challenging situations, building your confidence and coping skills as you move up the “anxiety ladder.”How I healed my anxiety without drugs? ›
- Keep Your Blood Sugar in Check. ...
- Avoid Stimulants. ...
- Get Enough Sleep. ...
- Just Breathe. ...
- Practice Mindfulness. ...
- Exercise. ...
- Do What You Enjoy. ...
- Where to Get Help.
People who are naturally more reserved and those who have experienced trauma like childhood abuse or neglect are more likely to develop the disorder. Additionally, those with a first-degree blood relative who has the disorder are anywhere from two to six times more likely to experience Social Anxiety Disorder.How common is social anxiety? ›
Prevalence of Social Anxiety Disorder Among Adults
An estimated 12.1% of U.S. adults experience social anxiety disorder at some time in their lives.
- Use topical antiperspirants. Tired of the sweat stains on your shirt? ...
- Wait between showering and dressing. ...
- Shave your armpits. ...
- Avoid sweat-inducing foods. ...
- Eat more foods that reduce sweat. ...
- Stay hydrated. ...
- Wear breathable, loose-fitting clothing. ...
- Skip the caffeine.
Excessive sweating is known as hyperhidrosis, a condition where your body's sweat glands are overactive. It can cause you to perspire in spots where other people wouldn't, and at times that aren't convenient. About 2% to 5% of people in the U.S. have hyperhidrosis.What supplements should I take for excessive sweating? ›
Taking magnesium supplements could help keep your magnesium levels balances, in turn curbing sweat production. Calcium: As we already mentioned, calcium helps regulate body temperature. Additionally, if you're taking magnesium, you'll need calcium to improve your body's ability to absorb the magnesium.Are you born with social anxiety? ›
Genetics likely has something to do with it: If you have a family member with social phobia, you're more at risk of having it, too. It could also be linked to having an overactive amygdala -- the part of the brain that controls your fear response. Social anxiety disorder usually comes on around 13 years of age.Is there a pill to control sweating? ›
Glycopyrrolate for sweating is usually effective at suppressing focal or generalized hyperhidrosis, and most patients can find a dose that is effective without having too many side effects (see below). Oxybutynin (Ditropan) is more effective in some patients but generally with more reported side effects.Why do I sweat more than my friends? ›
Muscle mass: Muscle mass produces more heat than fat. So even if two people have the same body weight, their sweat rate will differ based on their percentage of muscle mass.Why do I sweat so much its embarrassing? ›
Hyperhidrosis (hi-pur-hi-DROE-sis) is excessive sweating that's not always related to heat or exercise. You may sweat so much that it soaks through your clothes or drips off your hands. Heavy sweating can disrupt your day and cause social anxiety and embarrassment. Hyperhidrosis treatment usually helps.How do I stop sweating around people? ›
- Try Deep Breathing. Staying calm is sometimes easier said than done, especially in stressful situations. ...
- Wear a Sweat Proof Undershirt. ...
- Stay Hydrated. ...
- Know Your Sweat Triggers. ...
- Apply Antiperspirant at Night. ...
- Choose the Right Dress Shirt.
Botulinum toxin injections
This helps reduce sweating in these areas by blocking the signals from the brain to the sweat glands. Around 15-20 injections are given in the affected areas of the body, such as the armpits, hands, feet or face. The procedure usually takes about 30-45 minutes in total.
Facial hyperhidrosis is caused due to overstimulation of eccrine glands. This in most cases doesn't have any specific cause, while it can be hereditary. It can also be caused due to anxiety, substance abuse, menopause, hyperthyroidism or drugs like insulin, pilocarpine etc.”How can I stop sweating so much naturally? ›
- Natural Vinegar. It's bitter going down, but a sweet remedy to treat excessive sweat. ...
- Tomato Juice. Tomato. ...
- Herbal Tea. Stop sweat with a capital 'Tea. ...
- Potato. ...
- Witch Hazel. ...
- Cornstarch and Baking Soda. ...
- Wheatgrass Juice. ...