Think back to the last time you were on a stage in front of a crowd of people – maybe it was for a performance of some kind, a big speech or a graduation ceremony.
How nervous were you? Could you feel your heart pounding in your chest? Were your hands shaking? Were you drenched in sweat? How did your nerves affect your performance? The way your body responds to anxiety and stress can make a significant difference on how to handle it in the future and perform under pressure.
Instead of fearing stress and trying to figure out how to get rid of it, you might actually be able to make use of it. Perhaps the alertness that comes with anxiety can allow you to think more precisely and quickly. By turning a liability into an advantage, you can do more than you ever thought was possible.
The following are a few suggestions on how you can turn your nervous anxiety into nervous energy.
You’re not nervous, you’re excited
Anxiety and excitement are both energetic emotions. With both, the heart beats more quickly and the entire body gets ready for action. The only distinction is that excitement is positive and anxiety is negative.
When people feel anxious, they often wish they could calm down, and although calmness is positive emotion, it’s also low energy. Therefore, the path of least resistance to a positive emotional state is to go from a fired-up, negative state of mind to energetic positivity.
A simple way to do this, according to research from Harvard Business School, is to tell yourself: “I’m feeling excited!”
Published in 2014, the Harvard study showed that subjects who told themselves they were excited, not anxious, before singing karaoke or speaking on camera performed better than a control group – despite the fact that both groups reported the same level of nerves afterward.
This suggests that embracing anxiety as excitement won’t calm you down, but it’ll make you perform better under pressure.
Reframe symptoms of anxiety
When you feel anxious, you sweat more, you get short on breath and your mouth dries up. Instead of letting these symptoms feed into your anxiety, you should reframe them as good developments.
For instance, you could tell yourself that sweating is just your body releasing nervous energy. Or, you could tell yourself that a dry mouth is just your body sending fluids to other, more important body parts right now.
Realize everything will work out
Anxiety is a fight or flight response designed to keep us alive in the face of danger, but for most people, feeling anxious isn’t usually tied to life and death situations.
Sometimes the best way to deal with anxiety is just to ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” and then realize that the worst case scenario probably isn’t all that bad.
Look at the root cause
While it’s tough to do in the moment, looking at the root cause of your nervousness is a good way to take the venom out of it. Think about why you are feeling anxious and deconstruct that cause with the intention of figuring out how to overcome it.
At NSC Technologies, we know that job interviews can cause anxiety and we help our candidates overcome that anxiety coaching them toward success. If you’d like to know more about how we can help you land that next job, please contact us today.