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7 Quick Tricks To Overcome Your Nervousness

7 Quick Tricks To Overcome Your Nervousness

Picture yourself sitting on an airplane. You’re at 10,000 feet, sitting with your legs hanging in the air, the ground far below, the air whipping around you, a parachute strapped to your back and a loud man shouting from behind you to just jump already.

Nervous yet?

That’s an extreme situation, but nerves can strike in more everyday situations too like meeting new people, job interviews, a first date or an important meeting.

When nerves hit, you feel as though you’re not up to the challenge that you find yourself faced with and if you let them, they’ll have you turning back around, running away and hiding under the bed sheets.

The good news is that you don’t have to let your nerves call the shots—here are 7 ways to overcome them.

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1. Focus on Your Best

What are you like when you’re at your best? Think for a moment about the times when you’ve been at the top of your game, buzzing, flowing and feeling alive, then dive, swim and relish in how that feels.

Being at your best is about two things—bringing everything you are to the moment you find yourself in, and the absence of all the pesky fears, doubts and nerves that trip you up. That state of being at your best is always right inside you, waiting.

It’s pretty cool and when you get really familiar with how this feels you can bring it out at a moment’s notice. All it takes is a conscious, deliberate thought on your part to go there.

2. Follow Your Breath

Nerves are pernicious, sticky thoughts that spiral round and round in that wonderful brain of yours.  Once they’re spinning around, it’s really tough to get out of your head, return to the moment and get back in the driver’s seat. Your breath is one of the most powerful tools for getting back on track, so the next time the nerves hit, gently shift your focus onto your breath as it moves in and out of your body.

Don’t do anything with the breath, don’t force it or try to regulate it, just notice the full duration of the in breath, wherever you feel it in your body. Keep your attention on the breath, noticing the sensations in your body as you exhale, and even the momentary pause between the in-breath and out-breath.

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Your breath is a wonderful anchor to the present and, with a little practice, can cut right through your nerves.

3. Reset your Expectations

Your brain loves certainty and in an effort to try to be more certain about how things will turn out, it will create an array of expected outcomes.

These expectations will run the whole gamut between wonderful success and tragic failure, but, as it’s the more painful, negative expectations that threaten your safety, it’s those that your brain gives more focus to.

But they’re not real. They’re no more real than the Darth Vader bobble head sitting on your office desk. Once you realize you don’t need to dance to this negative tune in your head, sweeping away your expectations feels remarkably liberating.

4. Reassure Yourself

Nerves are really just stories about all the things that could go wrong; like screwing it all up, looking a fool or people thinking less of you. As stories go, they don’t have very happy endings, but in the end, they’re still just stories.

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Those stories don’t have to play out, so take a moment to reassure yourself. You’ve come this far and you’re still okay. You’ve faced challenges before and come through just fine. This will be okay too. You’ll be fine, whatever happens, you’ll get through it and live another day.

5. Normalize Rejection

Rejection sure feels nasty doesn’t it? As experiences go, it’s pretty awful, but that’s only because we’re wired to think that it’s “bad”. Truth is, nobody goes through life without rejection featuring in some measure, and a life spent avoiding rejection is a life spent unlived.

Fearing rejection will pile on the pressure and crank up those nerves, but what if rejection wasn’t so bad? What if it didn’t mean that you were less than or not good enough, but simply meant that it didn’t work out this time around?

Rejection is just something that happens from time to time, rather than something that diminishes your value.

6. Choose Which Thoughts you Honor

What do you hear in your head when the nerves hit? I can’t do this. This is horrible. I’m not good enough. What if I screw it up? I don’t want to be here.

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Familiar, right? If there’s one thing your brain’s good at, it’s making thoughts. It does it all day long, whether you want them or not. A thought about what you had for dinner last night, a thought about the room you’re about to nervously enter, a thought about that funny thing your friend said, a thought about how you might feel if you get it wrong.

They’re all just thoughts, and the thought that trumps them all is the one that decides which ones you trust and honor. Which ones are you going to listen to?

7. Practice More for Next Time

It’s true that the more you do something, the better you get. Whether it’s cooking the perfect piece of fish, running or playing the banjo, you always start from scratch, give it a shot, practice some more and get better.

Your skills and capabilities continually evolve and the more you practice, the more accustomed you get and the more effective you become.

So, when starting out with something that makes you nervous, be ready for the initial awkwardness and those rookie nerves, then seek out opportunities to practice, learn and grow.

More by this author

Steve Errey

Steve is a confidence coach who helps leaders build confidence.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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