Whether it's before an interview, a presentation, an audition, a first date, or a new job, nerves have a way of pouncing just when we need to feel our most confident. It's entirely understandable that we would feel this way; we're programmed to feel the rush of adrenaline and cortisol that prepares us to stand our ground or flee under threat. But you don't want that "yikes, help!" feeling sabotaging that all-important moment or event. Scroll down for a few strategies that can help you cope.
This is the fastest, most effective way to trick your body into feeling calm. A great, simple breathing exercise for soothing both the nervous system and an agitated mind is one where you make the breath out longer than the breath in. There are plenty of apps to help you with this technique.
Tip: Limit your caffeine intake. Too much coffee can nearly double the blood levels of the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine.
2. Reframe the situation.
Fear and excitement are very close cousins, chemically speaking, so if we re-label the rush as "excitement," it can help to change the way we feel and prepare mentally for the situation. For example, rather than thinking, "I'm not good enough" or "They might not like me," before an interview, ask yourself what it is you love about this job and why you're just dying to get started. You can even verbalize the sentiment, "I'm excited!" — complete with a joyful gesture if you feel so inclined. This way, you're totally flipping the script and will wow them with your enthusiasm.
3. Know your stuff.
The nerves will be well founded if you absolutely haven't done your homework before a presentation or interview. Prepare well, practice out loud, and anticipate thorny questions. Do all of this and you'll be able to assure yourself that all that positive self-talk is built on rock-solid foundations.
4. Put things into perspective.
Ask yourself, what is the worst that can happen? If it's a date and you don't get along, you won't have a second date, and that's it. It's not like you just lost the love of your life — you only just met!
This article was originally written by Maria Hoyle. For more, check out our sister site, Now to Love.