Nervous woman

Overcome your nerves

You probably know the feeling: those two days, 10 hours or 2 minutes before an important performance. Your hands are sweaty, your heart is beating quickly and your head feels empty, all the knowledge you have prepared doesn’t seem within reach anymore.

Most of the time, this tension dissipates within the first few minutes after the start, but what if it doesn’t? Read here about what countermeasures you can take!

Where does nervousness come from?

First of all: Nervousness is a good thing! It saved our ancestors from ending up as a wild animal’s lunch or being cast out from the clan. The adrenaline you produce also ensures that you are completely focused on the situation, which is also a very positive effect.

But, honestly, we actually have better things to do than let these primeval patterns ruin our lives!

Take the wind out of the sails of nervousness by taking care of your inner peace at home. Regardless of the future situation, good preparation takes a lot out of the excitement. And this helps you to internalize mastery over yourself:

Breathe in a 4:8 rhythm

Regularly practice a breathing routine in which the exhalation lasts longer than the inhalation. Inhale: count to 4 – Exhale: count to 8. This encourages the release of tension. The most suitable time to exercise is in the morning right after waking up, but it has a positive effect on upcoming events at any time of the day.

Recall a situation in which you acted with absolute confidence and from which you clearly emerged as the winner. Also activate the strong emotions you felt at the time.

Now imagine the situation in the future. Imagine the sequence of events while recalling the positive emotions of the previous scene over and over again. In this way, you link this strengthening emotional experience with the future event and go into the situation with positive feelings.

Since positive emotions are often triggered more quickly by melodies than by thoughts or images, you can also look for a song that you associate with this positive feeling.

When you get nervous, hum the melody softly and your positive energy will let you shine again. Did you know that it is not possible to combine singing and fear?

Young woman breathing

Power poses

“Fake it till you make it” is the motto that Amy Cuddy has since copied millions of times. The scientist found out that it is not only our feelings that affect our body language, but that a consciously used posture also has an effect on our feelings.

She therefore recommends adopting a pose that suggests power for 2-5 minutes shortly before the important performance/conversation in an unseen moment – Wonder Woman or Superman are wonderful role models for this.

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Convince with presence

Familiarize yourself with the scene and allow a few extra minutes to acclimatize. Walk around the room consciously, perceive your surroundings and look for a prominent anchor point that represents your haven of peace during the event.

Are you noticing that you are getting nervous, that a blackout is approaching? Then look at that point, breathe in and breathe out consciously, and your focus returns.

It’s also far less scary if you pet the lion before you speak with it. That means: Familiarize yourself with your audience or your interlocutors in the form of small talk, which also negates the touch of the dangerous unknown.

No matter the situation, tension eases when you feel safe. Surrounded by friends, nervousness will play a minor role. Since people – whether friends or strangers – love emotional stories, you should incorporate your conversational tone. Let the other person share your personal story that fits the topic, which creates trust.

Backup: Notes

You won’t need them, yet there’s a sense of security in having notes to fall back on. For example, bring your documents with you to the interview. If you get stuck, one look and you’ll be back on course. A keyword note in the context of a presentation has the same effect. Your slide show should be structured to include the right cues and keywords/images that can get you back on track.

Woman in interview

What is the worst that could happen?

This question also helps you relax. Are you extremely nervous during the job interview? Your interviewer may recognize themselves in this and find it personable! It also shows that you care about the conversation. In any case, accept these negative scenarios and think about what can ACTUALLY happen to you.

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