Nervousness, fright, stress, and anxiety can irritate the phrenic nerve which runs from your brain to the diaphragm, per Harvard Health, and this can cause the muscle to spasm which eventually leads to hiccups. The phrenic nerve, a critical part of the respiratory system, is what makes your diaphragm expand and contract when you breathe, according to Cleveland Clinic.
Anxiety-related hiccups can resolve on their own after a few minutes, but you can try the regular hiccup-relief methods like sipping cold water and holding your breath for a few seconds to see if those work. Breathing into a paper bag, biting into a lemon, gargling with cold water, consuming a teaspoonful of sugar, and holding your knees close to your chest for a few seconds are also home remedies to try.
If you’re someone who can’t get rid of the hiccups the traditional way, there are modified versions of the same rituals you can try, according to internal medicine physician, Dr. Olufunke Olushoga (via Hackensack Meridian Health). “There are ways to modify some of the standard home remedies. With your mouth closed, hold your nostrils and try breathing out. When you do this, tighten your stomach muscles so it feels like you are bearing down. Hold this for five seconds,” added Dr. Olushoga. Hiccup relief aside, you may also want to get to the root of your anxious feelings.