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Butterflies in Your Stomach: 16 Steps to Control & Calm Them Instantly

You know what it’s like to have butterflies in your stomach. But what does it really mean, and how do you control them?

butterflies in your stomach

Getting butterflies in your stomach is a metaphor for the physical aspect of nervousness. This is a sensation that is caused by your body’s flight or fight response to triggers like first dates.

Butterflies in your stomach can also be described as a nervous stomach. It can lead to uncomfortable gas, acid reflux, and even cramping. And it isn’t all in your head. Nerves and anxiety release hormones within the body that lead to these feelings.

This is why thinking positively or relaxing doesn’t do much to ease the butterflies in your stomach. So, what can? 

[Read: 27 ways to focus on yourself and make your own sunshine]

Why do you get butterflies in your stomach?

Getting butterflies in your stomach can make you feel uncomfortable. Maybe you just feel a little queasy, or you could completely lose your appetite or feel sick.

These butterflies are what lead to us not eating on the first few dates we go on. We feel so nervous that we can barely sip water.

But, why?

[Read: How long should a first date last? The exact timing for a good date]

Whether you are familiar with the person or not, you are equally filled with butterflies. You could be practical and rational, but that feeling in the pit of your stomach just won’t go away.

Some might call that your gut talking. Perhaps it is your gut saying this isn’t the person for you, but more likely, it is your nervous system releasing adrenaline, increasing your heart rate, and rushing blood to your limbs, in turn, slowing digestion. [Read: 7 stages of first date panic and how to calm them]

All of these bodily functions often lead to an urgency to use the bathroom, which can make you feel even more nervous. Your brain and your gut may seem far apart, but they go hand-in-hand.

This is the same reason why when you’re stressed, you may eat a lot or not at all. Mental health problems and even minor nervousness can lead to gastrointestinal issues.

[Read: 32 weird, true psychological facts about love no one seems to know]

What do butterflies in your stomach mean

Getting butterflies in your stomach can mean so many things. It can be your stomach doing flips when you get a text from your crush or you might have to run to the bathroom before a big presentation. Your body’s fight-or-flight response is acting up.

Of course, first date nerves or an interview is not life-threatening, but this bodily function is what has helped humans to evolve from times when we were at risk of physical harm. So, even though you probably won’t be fighting with a lion during a coffee date, your body reacts to it in a similar fashion.

[Read: How to tell if a first date went well – 22 signs to know the truth]

You may also get butterflies in your stomach when you receive a compliment from someone, especially someone you are romantically or sexually attracted to. Sometimes, just being near them causes this, so when there’s an accidental touch or you’re feeling aroused, those butterflies will go out of control.

In rare instances, a nervous stomach may signal an underlying health issue. If this is a common experience for you, you may want to check in with your doctor. This will help rule out the other problems that may affect your stomach such as ulcers or inflammatory bowel disease.

What do butterflies in your stomach feel like

You probably know what butterflies in your stomach feel like but are unable to describe the feeling. To put it simply, it’s like your stomach has waves passing through it with each vibration coming from increased heartbeats and breathing speed. You may call it a “fluttery” feeling in your stomach.

Having butterflies in your stomach can also include symptoms such as nausea and a burning sensation, and dry mouth. So it’s not always the swoony feeling like you’re falling in love!

[Read: 14 signs of social anxiety that hold you back & how to overcome it]

Are butterflies in the stomach a good sign

A lot of people think that getting butterflies in the stomach is a good sign, especially when it’s about someone new they’re dating. While this can be true for many cases, feeling nauseous at the thought of someone you like could signal trouble to come.

At the beginning of a developing relationship, anxiety and excitement feel very similar. But as the relationship builds, those feelings can be indicators that the person just isn’t right for you.

[Read: Breakup anxiety – How to deal with it & overcome your biggest fears]

Maybe you’re obsessed with what your partner may think of you, or what you should do to become perfect in their eyes. You may be scared of them leaving or getting mad at you for the smallest things. When you’re around them, you become restless and cannot seem to escape this feeling of self-consciousness.

This is not how someone in a safe, secure, and healthy relationship should feel. In this case, those butterflies are warning signs and red flags.

But of course, everyone has experienced these butterflies in their stomach, so they don’t always mean that your gut is telling you to run or that you are falling in love. You can get butterflies in your stomach just by flirting with someone cute in the elevator.

[Read: Post party anxiety: The morning-after hangxiety of awkward regret]

How to get rid of the butterflies in the stomach feeling

So, even though this is a normal physical response for just anybody, how do you get rid of the butterflies in the stomach feeling? You want to be able to eat on a first date. You want to feel like your stomach is calm when you are about to give a speech. [Read: How to get rid of nervousness – Lose the fear and guide your mind]

Well, there are some things that can help you relax and feel a bit calmer in these moments. Some help with the nervousness at the source, and others help treat the effects.

1. Take deep breaths

Take a step back and give yourself a break. Whatever is causing these feelings is on your mind. Just stop thinking, stop worrying, stop wondering. Sit down and breathe with intention.

There are breathing techniques for anxiety everywhere online. Once you find one that works for you, it can immediately help to calm you. [Read: How to instantly calm down – The hacks that work like magic]

2. Find a comfortable place for you to be in

If you have to make a quick escape to the bathroom, do it. Don’t be afraid to excuse yourself, even at an important event. It’s a lot better than faking smiles and picking at your nails under the table. Get yourself out of the stressful situation and a comfortable place where you can be alone.

You can even tell your date the truth, that you’re feeling nervous and need to go outside. If they don’t understand, it’s a sign that they’re not worth your time.

[Read: How to help someone with anxiety & not say or do the wrong things]

3. Spend time with your pets

Pets are proven to reduce stress levels. When you are feeling nervous about a date or anything, cuddle with your pet. Playing fetch will also boost your mood, but the act of physical touch soothes you almost immediately.

4. Go for a walk

Light exercise releases feel-good hormones and can overpower the nerves you have bouncing around in your belly.

Go for a nice stroll or even do some simple yoga poses to ground yourself. Even consider going on a walk for your first date if that is what you’re nervous about. The fresh air and movement will take your mind off of the motion in your stomach.

5. Try tea or CBD

CBD is an amazing substance to help ease anxiety without any psychoactive effects. Everything from gummies to oils can help you unwind.

If you’re nervous about trying it, herbal teas without caffeine can offer similar effects. Try chamomile tea to help you slow down and peppermint tea to soothe your nervous stomach. [Read: How to calm your nerves in any situation you walk into]

6. Avoid caffeine

There is an association between caffeine and the initiation of anxiety and panic attacks. So if you know you’re an extremely anxious individual, it’s better to avoid caffeine before going on a date or a job interview.

Even if you’re going on a coffee date, order decaf to make sure you don’t aggravate your nerves or the butterflies in your stomach.

[Read: The avoidable habits that will change your life for the worse]

6. Hydrate

Instead of making yourself a cup of coffee, drink a lot of water instead. When we are nervous, we forget we should stay hydrated. On days we have big dates or work events, we may be so worried we forget to get our eight cups.

Take small sips of water when you are feeling nervous. Not only will this fight any minor dehydration which can lead to increased anxiety, but it will help to clean out any toxins in your body.

[Read: How to look hot: 24 sexy tips to go from boring to irresistibly desirable!]

7. Listen to calming music

It is scientifically proven that music can drastically alter your mental state. Listen to your favorite song or google mindful music or spa music to really feel at peace. The butterflies in your stomach will slow down to a light flutter with the rhythm. [Read: How to find yourself when you feel like you’ve lost your way]

8. Take antacids or a mint

If the butterflies in your stomach will just not stop, try some antacids. Pepto-Bismol or TUMS should ease any physical symptoms from nervousness.

If you don’t have access to them, popping a mint can help to soothe the acids in your stomach and refresh more than just your breath. [Read: Is relationship stress getting to you? Learn to fix it or walk out!]

9. Watch something funny

Take your mind off of whatever is making you nervous. Watch your favorite sitcom, a funny YouTube video, or whatever makes you laugh. Laughing really is the best medicine. It will rearrange your thoughts and shift your body’s reaction from nerves to humor.

[Read: What is FOMO? How to read the signs & overcome the stress it causes]

10. Nibble some crackers

Yes, nibbling on saltines is advice doctors give to pregnant women with nausea, but it also works if you have a sour stomach for other reasons.

Eating something in small bits that will settle the action in your stomach will help calm that part of your anxiety. [Read: Relationship anxiety symptoms: Are you trapped in anxiety?]

11. Talk to someone

Even if it’s a therapist, a friend, or a family member, talking to someone you trust and having someone to reassure you may help you overcome anxiety. [Read: How to explain anxiety to someone you love & do it fearlessly]

12. Exercise

Having a physical outlet for stress and anxiety may reduce the feeling of butterflies in your stomach. Regular gym sessions or practising yoga may actually be helpful. [Read: How to get motivated to exercise? 28 tips to try!]

13. Manage stress in your life

It’s probably not just the date that’s causing you to feel this way. If you’re dealing with chronic stressful experiences like big events, job interviews, financial problems, or the death of a loved one, finding ways to manage stress is essential. You don’t have to put yourself out there if you’re not one hundred percent sure you’re up for it.

[Read: Social anxiety vs shyness: How to decipher what you feel inside]

14. Journaling

If you don’t want to talk to anyone, journaling is a great way to provide positive self-talk and identify negative thoughts.

It’s therapeutic, and you can write about anything without fear that someone may judge you. Journaling also helps you prioritize your problems, fears, and concerns. You can even recognize your triggers and learn ways to control them better.

[Read: Alone time: Why you need it, how it helps & how to make the most of it]

15. Meditation

Mediation helps reduce anxiety by increasing your focus and mindfulness. Even with a busy schedule, you can still include meditation in your daily routine. It takes around ten or fifteen to meditate, and it’s super easy.

Just go lie down in a quiet room and focus on your breathing. You’ll feel a lot better afterwards.

[Read: How to reduce stress – 17 fastest hacks to a calmer & happier life]

16. Accept the unknown

This is the hardest, yet most effective, way to stop the butterflies in your stomach. Learning that you are in control of yourself, but not all that is around you, will help you remove expectations from unknown situations so you can enter them without excessive anxiety.

[Read: How to let go of your past and be excited about your future]

It can be tough to get rid of the butterflies in your stomach. But with some mindfulness and calmness, you can put them to bed once and for all!

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The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...