How To Break The Vicious Sweat-Cycle

February 18, 2008

Understanding The Cycle And How To Break It

You’ve been there…

Usually it happens during a social situation. Sometimes a job interview. Sometimes some random event. But you know exactly how it works, don’t you?

“Uh-oh, I’m starting to sweat,” you say to yourself silently and intensely. The whole dynamics of the situation change. All of a sudden, this situation seems very important. It seems like there’s a lot on the line.

You start focusing exclusively on the worst-case scenario. Almost to the point where you can’t think about anything else. Imagining success is out of the question.

It’s been 30 seconds since you noticed the sweat, but it feels like it’s been a lifetime. You have convinced yourself beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re screwed. This certainty causes the flood gates to open wide and let it rip.

“Oh sh*t! I’m sweating bullets,” you think as your breathing quickens. The tension and anxiety build…the sweat increases…the tension builds…the sweat increases…and on and on.

You’ve been there…

4 ways to stop the cycle

*Warning* Just reading about doing some of the following things will give you butterflies in your stomach. Actually doing them may seem completely out of the question. But I know for a fact that these things break the cycle. If you do all four of them, within two months, you will either break the cycle or just not care anymore.

They’re listed in order of importance. I urge you to try each of them.

1. Accept it and dive in. This cycle is proliferated by fear. When you’re stuck in the cycle, while you’re actually sweating, it obviously sucks, but not really that bad. Thinking about it before-hand, anticipating it fearfully, and then remembering it painfully is what reallly sucks. The actual moments aren’t the worst thing. You remember it as being one of the worst things ever, and you’re scared of when it’s going to happen next.

The fastest way to break out of the ‘anxiety–>sweat–>anxiety–>sweat Cycle’ is to demolish the ‘Fear Cycle.’

Sometimes you find yourself in situations where you’re torn, or unsure…”Should I ask my boss for that raise?” “Should I introduce myself to that hot girl/boy?” “Should I give this rude person a piece of my mind?” The answer to these question is almost always, “Yes, but what if [insert lame fear here]…”

To demolish the fear cycle, when a question comes up, do whatever it is immediately without hesitation. Make it a habit. (Please don’t do something illegal or really stupid and tell the cops I made you do it.)

  • Go into the situation knowing that you are a heavy sweater.
  • Know that there’s a possibility of failure, rejection, embarrassment.
  • Don’t deny or try to fight these things.
  • Try your damndest not to be scared.
  • But even if you are scared, (and you will be) and you have butterflies flying harder than ever, (which you will) do NOT, under any circumstances let the fear stop you.

Your fears only exist for you. You create them. They belong to you, not vice-versa. To let fears dominate your actions is silly. You’re the owner. You’re the master. It’s like letting your car drive you to wherever it wants to go. It’s foolish.

But it’s very persuasive, because the feeling that it creates doesn’t feel good. And it seems like the best way to avoid the unpleasant feeling is by not acting on your desire. And it’s true for the immediate future. But it’s a victory for fear. And the more accustomed you are to giving into fear, the weaker you’ll become.

Standing up to the fear, challenging the fear, plowing ahead even though you know you may crash and burn…That’s what life’s all about. It may feel unpleasant while you’re doing it. But after you’re done, and you’re back to regular, you’ll be glad you did. And that, my friends, is a victory for you over fear. The more frequently you beat fear, the stronger you’ll become.

Now get out there and humiliate yourself on purpose a couple times. Facing the fear is a great way to overcome it.

2. Hit the gym. If you’re not exercising, you should be ashamed of yourself. You have no excuses not to.

  • Don’t have any money?
    • You don’t have to join a gym. Go play basketball, go for a run, do some push-ups and sit-ups, or just dance like a maniac for 15 minutes.
  • Don’t have any time?
    • Yes you do. You just have to prioritize it. You’re making time to read this. Do it on the weekends. Do it at night, or in the morning. It takes 15 minutes, that’s nothing.
  • Don’t know how?
    • First of all, you do. Intuitively, you know how to work out. Just do anything that makes you breathe fast or burn. Also, you have the internet. You can easily learn a couple tricks.
  • Don’t feel like it?
    • Well, at least your honest. But get off your sweaty ass, and go do something : ) (See, since we’re kinda’ sweaty-friends like it says in #2, that’s kinda funny, no?)

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Exercising is one of the best things you can get in the habit of doing. It’s been shown scientifically to combat depression in teens and young adults. It’s been proven in thousands of scientific studies to ward off diseases of all types and be healthy in general. It helps your nervous system function more smoothly.

Exercising is easy, fun, healthy, and free. It improves both your body and your mind. The bottom line is that it will make you feel better about yourself. It will increase your self-esteem, which will help you tremendously.

3. Be open. Discuss your condition casually and frequently. Nobody really cares except you. It’s like when you have a bad-hair-day. You’re the only person that cares (or even notices, really). Throw in little comments all the time, like, “Man, I’m sweatin’ my butt off.” Just be casual and don’t care. Two things will happen:

  • Very few people will comment/care, and
  • You’ll notice that a lot of other people are sweating right along with you.

HH (hyperhidrosis, excessive sweating) is way more common than you know. Most people are so anxious about it because they feel like they’re the only ones suffering. Like they’re freaks. But talking about it openly will prove to you what I’ve been saying all along…that HH is way common.

This can be hard to do about something you’re really self-conscious about deep-down. The first few times you try this, it will apply to #1. There will be some fear involved. But just plow ahead!

4. Make sweaty friends. I guarantee you that there’s already someone in one of your circles that suffers from excessive sweat. Having them around is good for support, and also to make sure you don’t feel like a freak. It’ll probably even become a running (and really funny) inside joke.

Some easy ways to make sweaty friends are to follow the instructions in #1, and to surf excessive sweating forums. is a good place to start.

Use these techniques, and others from the website to conquer your fears and stop your sweating.

Wishing you dryness and confidence,

Chris Mechanic