…but they’re not a sign that something is wrong. Nerves are a signal you’re feeling stressed or excited or anxious about something. The physical and mental discomfort doesn’t mean you definitely have a problem.
There’s a strong correlation between recognising something as important and feeling nervous about it. If you experience nervousness around viva time, I think it’s because you recognise the viva is important.
I felt a bit nervous as my viva got close, not too bad thankfully. My coping strategy was to think about how I could make myself less nervous. I asked myself, “What could I do to feel better?” With hindsight, I wonder if a more useful question in situations might have been, “What can I do to do this important thing as well as I possibly can?”
You only have a finite amount of energy and attention to spend, and if you use it up trying to beat nerves you could miss the opportunity to focus on preparation.
My hunch is that investing time on prep – on doing the important thing well – will make you ready and less nervous.