Why We Sweat
First things first: Sweating is good. It is an essential, involuntary physical response to heat; as soon as your body reaches a certain temperature, it begins sweating to cool back down. In fact, people who dont sweat enough are often more susceptible to fainting and a host of other health problems.
Too Much of a Good Thing
Some people sweat more than is necessary for the body to regulate its temperature. While this can be a symptom of thyroid trouble or another ailment, theres a much more common culprit: anxiety.
While the trigger is psychological, the symptoms are very physicaland hard to cover up. Anxiety-induced sweating usually affects the hands, feet, underarms, and face, and tends to strike at inopportune moments (think dates, job interviews, or any time nerves come into play). Of course, its only exacerbated in the presence of normal sweat cues, like warm weather.
What You Can Do
Once the waterworks start, they tend trigger even more anxietya viscous, sweaty cycle. So while antiperspirant products can help, you need to take matters into your own mind. Simple exercises like the following can immediately alleviate sweat-inducing stress:
1. Find a quiet space. This may mean closing your office door for a few minutes or stealing away to a conference room or the restroom. While not essential to the exercise, this step can help tremendously.
2. Breathe. Close your eyes and breathe deeply, but normally. Focus on your body: the intake of air, the beat of your heart, and the way your diaphragm expands and contracts.
3. Practice mindful awareness. Once youre comfortable in your breathing, shift your focus to something external and sensory. This could be the way the wind hits your skin, the sound of your dog panting, or the smell of your coffee. This will remind you that while you cant control external factors, you can control how they affect you.
You can repeat the cycle as many times as is necessary to calm your mind and, in turn, those pesky sweat glands. Try this technique the next time your nerves threaten to cramp your styleand maybe keep a handkerchief handy just in case.