Published Date: 08/11/2014
By Reneé Watkins
Throughout your career, there are always going to be times when you feel nervous, anxious or simply afraid of the unknown. You may be preparing for an important presentation to a group who does not support your proposal. You may have just accepted a new leadership role and suddenly your peers are now reporting to you. You may be about to approach management to register a complaint regarding the organization and are fearful of how it will be received. As odd as it sounds, these are everyday occurrences that must be dealt with in a calm and confident manner.
When you feel yourself becoming nervous as you approach a situation, apply one or more of the suggestions below to restore a feeling of calm and collected preparedness to your being and move forward. These suggestions not only work well in a professional situation but can also be applied in your personal life.
Temporarily Walk Away
The word “temporarily” is important here. You cannot abandon the situation you are faced with altogether and must return to it. However, simply taking a moment to remove yourself from it can make all the difference. Step out into the hallway, go to the restroom or step outside and breathe in fresh air. A couple of minutes to simply gather your thoughts and regroup can make all the difference.
Shut Your Eyes for a Moment
Your eyes are constantly sending hundreds of signals to your brain when they are open. Color, shape and depth of every single item and person in the room are being processed. Your nervous system is on overload already and this just adds to it. Close your eyes for a moment and block out those signals. With your eyes closed, you can focus more on what is going on behind the eyelids.
Seek out a place at work or home where you can be completely alone. Perhaps a little-used conference room at work or out in the garage at home. When you are nervous, you need a place where you can go and just be by yourself for a brief time. No distractions, no conversation, no TV and definitely no computer or cell phone. Just you, alone with your own thoughts, can make a huge difference.
Back to Nature
Inside an office building, regardless of how big, can still be very confining. Take a moment to go outside. Walk around the exterior of the building, or take advantage of a walking trail. Driving around in your car with the windows down is a great way to boost your spirits and take your mind off being nervous. The smell of freshly cut grass or someone grilling out can cause an immediate reset of your nervous system and an instant calm.
Take Deep Breaths
Breathing, by its very definition, is the body’s way of supplying oxygen to the organs and exhaling the toxins which can harm the body. The brain and nervous system benefit the most from this largely involuntary function. Now try something called “deliberate breathing.” Slowly breathe in for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four, slowly breathe out for a count of four and do not breathe in for a count of four. Repeat this several times until your feeling of nervousness is replaced by a sense of calm. It really works!
Music Hath Charms
Listen to a minute or so of your favorite music. It does not have to be Beethoven or Bach but it certainly can be. For your own personal taste, it could be Aerosmith or Van Halen. Something that relaxes you, or something you can sing to. The important thing is, that it allows you to lose yourself in it and erase every other thought from your mind. Your thoughts will return and they will return quietly and calmly.