High-stress situations affect everyone differently, even causing some to exhibit behavior that’s notaltogether socially acceptable. Some people react to situations that make them anxious by going into high gear and taking care of business, others are incapable of maintaining a calm facade. While there are as many different inappropriate reactions to stress as there are sufferers from anxiety, these are 10 of the most mortifying.
Laughing at a Funeral –Perhaps the most horrifying thing you can do at a funeral is laugh, but it does happen. With the tension of the situation, some people just crack under the pressure. It’s not uncommon for some mourners to find themselves battling back a case of the giggles, despite their grief.
Laughing When a Person Gets Hurt –While there’s certainly a market for entertainment based solely around the idea of finding humor in another’s misfortune, laughing at someone who’s just sustained a serious injury can often be the result of the high-pressure situation and nervous fear.
Getting the Hiccups when Going on an Interview –The hiccups are irritating under normal circumstances, but they can also be triggered by stress in some people. When you’re on a job interview, especially during such tough economic times, it’s downright horrifying. The stress of trying to suppress hiccups can draw the sufferer’s focus away from the interview itself, creating a vicious cycle in which their embarrassment over the hiccups causes even more stress and further exacerbates the situation.
Throwing Up the Morning of Your Wedding– Sometimes a sour stomach on your wedding day can be attributed to the celebrations of the night before, but that’s not always the case. It’s not uncommon for people in stressful situations to find themselves struggling with nausea, especially on one of the biggest days of your life.
Tripping Up the Stairs –Becoming self-conscious during important moments can lead to an inability to use your regular motor functions. At a graduation or an award ceremony, it’s easy to lose your footing and trip up those stairs. The worst part is the burning in your face when you realize hundreds of people just witnessed your embarrassment. Just stand up, shake it off and keep on going. Try not to dwell on it for too long because that may cause it to happen again.
Turning Bright Red When Thinking Impure Thoughts– Blushing at a risqué joke is one thing, but knowing that you’re turning a telltale shade of red when something sparks an impure thought or two is another. On a first date, the nerves in conjunction with your attraction to another person can cause your face to flush, effectively giving you away.
Not Being Able to Talk to the Opposite Sex–Like in the TV show “Big Bang Theory,” one character’s inability to speak around women is a nervous reaction that happens in real life. Selective mutism can affect anyone and is more likely to happen when you’re around someone you’re attracted to. You get nervous thinking that this other person will judge you if you say something “stupid,” so you are struck silent.
Talking Too Much– While some people find themselves struggling to speak when they’re nervous, others have trouble stemming the tide of words falling from their mouths. One of the most common nervous reactions is becoming more talkative than usual, even when you’re actively trying to stay quiet.
Wetting Yourself– Being so nervous that you’re battling a full-on anxiety attack or something close to it can bring on a case of the weak bladder, which is a common reaction to intense fear or stress. The fact that it’s somewhat common doesn’t make it any less mortifying, though.
Giggling Around Your Crush –Nervous laughter doesn’t only happen at funerals. It can also happen when you’re approached by someone you’ve taken a fancy to. Giggling when a pretty girl asks you for the time might not be the smoothest one in the book, but it is one of the most natural.
Nervous reactions are difficult to overcome because they often happen through no control of your own. Without knowing why they happen, it’s hard to accept them and get past them. Just try not to chide yourself for reacting inappropriately in the face of stress, because you’ll only add to your anxiety and possibly bring on more embarrassing reactions.
ElisabethWright Director of Operations; University of Virginia School of Medicine Simulation Center