Fear before an exam, an important presentation, or an interview can cause a lot of stress, which ultimately affects the result. And while you can learn all the information you need to prepare by heart, dealing with your own emotions can be more difficult. Here are some simple tips to help you feel calmer.
🤩 Recall something pleasant.
Replacing a frightening scenario with a positive one is one of the psychotherapeutic techniques for dealing with anxiety. But this technique needs to be learned. However, as British scientists found out in 2016, there is a simpler method. They asked volunteers to simply imagine something good in an anxious moment. And it helped them calm down.
Feeling anxious before a difficult meeting, it's not always easy to imagine that everything will go perfectly. If it doesn't work out for you, think of something that makes you happy, a place or situation that you associate with feeling calm and confident
💪 Do some squats.
Sports improve mood: they stimulate endorphin production and reduce levels of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Aerobic exercise, as well as high-intensity training is more effective in reducing anxiety levels than low-intensity exercise.
But if there are a few minutes left before a speech or exam and no time for a jog, you can stretch a little. Light stretching also helps to calm you down. Try bending forward and sideways if the situation allows, do one of the stretching exercises or walk down the street at a brisk pace for 15-20 minutes: rhythmic movements are also soothing
👃 Breathe deeply.
When a person is under stress, frequent and shallow breathing is characteristic. It causes the oxygen level in the body to decrease, and this leads to muscle tension. To relax a little, it is sometimes enough to take a few deep breaths.
You can start observing your breathing and consciously slowing it down. Try breathing by counting, for example, 4 seconds of inhalation and 4 exhalations. Spread your shoulders and try to breathe in while inflating your belly: this breathing oxygenates the body faster and relieves stress
🤣 Laugh at yourself
Psychologist David Burns in his work with anxious clients, among other things, used techniques based on humor. For someone to cope with anxiety, it helps to imagine as comically and exaggerated as possible their failure - when things went so badly that they ended up becoming a legend.
Another option that may help get rid of embarrassment in front of the examiner, boss or other important person - imagine that he gives a lecture or holds a meeting in his underwear. Or without any underwear at all.
Listen to the sounds of nature.
Quiet music is believed to reduce stress. In an attempt to confirm this experimentally, Swiss scientists let people listen to music, the sounds of babbling water or silence before a mock job interview.
It turned out that the level of the stress hormone cortisol was, on the contrary, higher after listening to music, and the lowest level was in those who listened to the sounds of water. Music helped with a little excitement. But unlike the sounds of nature, it did not cope with strong experiences
👐 Get a light massage.
Massage reduces stress levels and helps relieve headaches and tension. And to feel its beneficial effect in an anxious situation, you do not need to run to a spa - often it is enough to massage your hands for a light relaxation.
You can learn how to self-massage from the video. Memorize the movements and repeat them the moment you need to relieve stress
💧 Drink a glass of water.
During an important speech, you can feel your voice getting weaker and thinner and your throat getting dry. That's why if you're going to give a speech or a lecture, it's worth taking a bottle of water with you or pouring a cup of loose tea.
Caffeine can double cortisol levels and, as a result, increase stress, while water helps to cope with it more effectively. In addition, insufficient water reduces brain activity, which negatively affects both mood and cognitive abilities. It is also helpful to wash your face with cold water or chew gum to relieve stress.