Do you get alarmed, jumpy, nervous and jittery all of a sudden? Are questions like “Why do I startle easily” & “how to get rid of this feeling” boggling your mind? Well, the “startle” is a symptom that can occur by itself for no apparent reason or can precede, accompany or follow an increase of other anxiety sensations, an episode of nervousness, fear or elevated stress.
Why Do I Startle Easily?
Feeling startled is a symptom that can differ in intensity from slight to moderate to severe. Startling easily can follow a wave pattern, where it is strong one moment and eases off in the next. The startling easily is a symptom, which is dynamic and can change from day to day, or from moment to moment. Suddenly feeling startled can often seem more disconcerting when trying to rest, relaxing, or going to or waking up from sleep.
Why do I startle easily? It probably a result of anxiety settled deep within you. Anxiety activates the stress response, which immediately causes specific psychological, physiological and emotional changes in the body. These changes enhance the body’s ability to deal with a threat, i.e. by either fighting it or fleeing away from it. This is the reason why stress response is often also referred to as the fight or flight response. A majority of the stress response changes include a heightening of the senses and nervous system stimulation. This emergency readiness can trigger a startle easily reaction.
Since the nervous system of the body is most affected by stress hormones, a persistently high level of stress can cause multiple nervous system symptoms. Behavioral and physical adaptation of stress can result in increased arousal and alertness, increased respiratory rate and heart rate.1 Getting startled easily could be one of the responses to stress.
When stress responses occur occasionally, the body tends to recover relatively faster from the psychological, physiological, and emotional changes which stress response cause. When stress responses occur too frequently, or dramatically, the body finds it more difficult to recover, and remains in a semi-emergency readiness and stimulated state, as stress hormones are stimulants. A body that becomes stress-response hyper-stimulated can display extremely sensitive senses and hyper-reactivity that can cause a person to startle easily, be jittery and jumpy.
The nervous system is the primary system, which is responsible for sending and receiving information like sensory information. The presence of a hyper-reactive nervous system is a common result of stress-response hyper-stimulation. When the nervous system gets hyper-stimulated, it can become over sensitive and highly reactive to stimuli, like movements, sounds, smells, and sensations. This super-sensitivity of getting startled easily is often termed as a being “jumpy”, “on edge” or “case of the nerves.” As stimulation increases, the nervous system’s sensitivity and reactivity also rise. Although bothersome, getting startled easily is not harmful; however, this symptom is an indication of a constantly increased level of stress and anxiety.
How To Get Rid Of Getting Startled Easily?
If anxiety and stress response changes cause you to startle easily, you must find ways to get rid of it. Let us understand how to get rid of getting startled easily. As the body gradually recovers from the active stress response, the symptom of startling easily will gradually subside you will regain the normal state. Usually, your body can take up to 20 minutes or more to recover from a major stress response. This is normal and should not be a cause of concern.
If the cause of you getting startled easily is triggered by constant stress and anxiety, you may take more time to recover. The hyper-stimulation of the nerves must be controlled to get rid of getting startled easily.
The recovery process can be accelerated by reducing your stress, practicing relaxed breathing, increasing relaxation and not bothering about the startle easily feeling. Some other strategies, which can also help to get rid of getting startled easily, are:
- Avoid the use of stimulants.
- Get proper and adequate sleep at night. Maintain sleep hygiene.
- Practice light to moderate exercise regularly for diffusing stress and relaxing the body and the mind.
- Reduce the stress as much as possible to decrease nervous system reactivity.
- Practice controlled relaxed breathing to ease and calm down the nervous system.
- Have fun and indulge in enjoyable activities, hobbies.
- Spend time with family and friends.
- Stay calm, positive and look at the brighter side of things.
Anxiety disorder and its symptoms can be addressed most effectively with a combination of strategies. With good self-help information and guidance of an experienced anxiety disorder coach, therapist or counselor you can get rid of the feeling of getting startled easily. The main aim is to reduce anxiety and focus on the main causes of stress. Identify and get treatment or therapy for the underlying factors is the best way of overcoming the feeling of getting easily startled.