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What Does 'Butterflies in the Stomach' Mean

Rujuta Borkar

Ever had butterflies in stomach? I'm sure you have. But have you ever given a thought to why it happens? If you haven't, we will tell you about it.
Whenever you see your crush walking towards you, there is that familiar feeling of butterflies in the stomach... Whenever you are about to give a speech in front of the entire class, there they go again, the butterflies. When the cue to have you on stage for the next song is announced, who else accompanies you up there but the butterflies in the stomach?
What's your age? 15? 39? 52? 78?... No matter what it is, haven't you all had that butterflies-flooding-your-stomach feeling at one time or the other? Surely you have. Have you ever thought about why you get butterflies in your stomach? Or have you simply accepted it as another natural phenomenon of our body?
How boring you are. Aren't you even a little bit curious about what happens? Cause yeah, there aren't actually butterflies in there. Then why is this term used so frequently? Guess what, we found out about it and so will you if you keep reading. Ready? Here we go...


This is a term that is synonymous with the fluttering or tickling (hence, butterflies) feelings of nervous excitement or anxiety. It is usually caused when you are about to be in a situation where you are likely to be judged.
That is why when you are up on stage, performing in front of so many people, standing up there, where people can see you and will be evaluating and examining you, you are overtaken by the feeling of butterflies in your stomach or being nervous.
Similarly, when you see a crush pass by, your senses are suddenly heightened and you want them to see you at your best―so the nervous feeling takes over.


Physiologically speaking, this feeling is the body's way of dealing with danger. It has got to do with the body's fight or flight response to certain situations. Some say that it is caused by the release of a type of adrenaline called epinephrine, which results in the pulling away of blood from the stomach area and sending it to the muscles.
This results in a temporary shut down of the stomach. Some people believe that it leads to a better performance because you are forced to be alert. The nervous excitement and feeling of constant butterflies in stomach that one experiences when in love (or like or attraction), is brought about by the mood-altering endorphins that are released into the body.


When the butterflies in your stomach get serious, it is time to make them flutter away! (Bad joke, we know.) But getting to the point―How? Just adopt a few anxiety cures.
  • Breathe. Clear everything else from your mind and simply breathe deeply. Instant relief.
  • Learn to relax by doing meditation or yoga or taking nature walks. It helps to calm you down.
  • Have go-to places which provide relaxation. It could be anything from the smell of a particular soap or a favorite song. Keep it handy when you have an important event that you know will cause nervousness and tension.
  • Have some herbs like chamomile or lemon balm, or some herbal tea to keep the fear at bay and help you calm down.
Here's a great number by the Olsen twins on butterflies in your stomach. Quite fitting, we would say...

Butterflies in Your Stomach

When you got butterflies in your stomach
And a desert in your mouth
Your bod is signifying
It wants a way out
Cause you're scared that you might mess up
Afraid that you might goof
So when you're feeling nervous,
Here is what you got to do...
Just breath a little deeper
Sip a little water
Know that you'll be great
Everybody's gonna love ya
Especially if you smile
When you step out on that stage
Ohh yeah! Ohh yeah! Ohh yeah! Ohh yeah!...
...Wow! I can't help it. I still have butterflies in my stomach
You know, it could be worse
Yeah, you could have a caterpillar up your nose
Ok, ok, ok
What did a dancer do when she hurt her foot?
She called a toe-truck...
...Now there's something that you must know
Since you've done this all before
Every fear is gonna leave you
When you step on that dance floor
Cause you're doing what you love most
And practiced for four years
And if you're dancing from your heart,
Then you will leave them all in tears, so...(Chorus)
Pretty interesting concept, isn't it? Technically, there is nothing wrong with your health when you get that fluttery feeling in the stomach. It's just the body's way of telling you that there could be a possibility of danger of which you should be aware. It's a useful little concept that helps you be well-prepared for what is to follow sufficiently well.