I came across this article on Yahoo! Shine – if you ever wanted to know how sweating works on a pretty detailed level, I suggest you take a read.
It turns out when we start sweating because of stress or nervousness, that sweat comes on faster (than say gradual sweating to cool down your body) and different glands are involved so it ends up smelling more. Yay? Ugh seriously, sweat was the bane of my existence for like two years of my teenage life. It kind of just came on suddenly around probably 8th grade. I just could not be not sweaty.
I could deal with sweating from the heat or from playing sports. Both of those made sense to me. But why did just sitting in my classroom make me sweat through a shirt in a snap? I showered every day. I wore deodorant. While stress sweating apparently has this “worse smell” component, that actually was never my concern (so I hope that wasn’t really an issue?). My fear was more that people would see the sweat.
Eighth grade was a pretty stressful year of my life between dealing with my broken arm for most of the year and also getting ready to switch to a new school the next fall. When I started ninth grade, I had a rough year, so my stress levels remained high.
My excessive underarm sweat presented itself in a few ways. I no longer felt I could raise my hand in class – even though I knew many answers (#humblebrag). I was also in the drama club for one year, but I was so traumatized about what kind of costume I was going to have to wear if I was like flailing my arms around on stage and didn’t want to be super sweaty. Luckily I got a black top in one scene and the world’s biggest coat in another. I don’t think I had ever been more relieved about anything in my entire life.
I ended up wearing a lot of really thick and baggy sweatshirts so as to hide the sweat evidence. However, my new school we had a uniform so I couldn’t even rely on that tactic anymore. I took to wearing clothes under my uniform as a way to absorb any sweatiness without exposing myself to the world. It was a daily strategy to manage.
One day, I just like could not take it anymore and spilled all my sweat drama to my mom. Anyway, I think just telling someone rather than making excuses to keep my arms glued to me lifted up a big weight of the stress. It was also fortunate timing because this was around when “clinical” deodorant products were really hitting the market. With my mom, keeper of the money, I got one. It helped, but I’m also sure just talking about it helped make it be less of this scary stress monster in my life, and thus, probably helped halt some of the anxious sweating.
In general, my later high school years were less stressful and since I stayed up to date with deodorant and shower usage, the sweating issue just kind of went away. I know for some people sweating is something they need to discuss with a doctor, so definitely don’t feel embarrassed about that.
Sweat is natural, but I get that feeling like you have excessive sweat can mess with your confidence. I’ve been there. Luckily, there are people and strategies that can help cut down on your anxiety and thus your stress sweating, allowing you to raise your hand up high with confidently when you know all the answers, too.
Do you sweat when you get nervous? Have you ever been self-conscious about sweating? Tell us in the comments!