You’re scheduled to present a proposed advertising plan in front of your clients. Your props are well-prepared, you’ve memorized your speech and you’ve got the presentation flow ready. You’ve even worn your best tie, so you’ll feel more primped up. During the presentation, as you stand up to talk, a strange fluttering sensation comes to your stomach. Your knees wobble, your heart starts pounding and your mind is wiped blank. You’ve got the worst case of nerves, and it’s affecting your concentration and ruining your presentation.
Every person at one point in their life been in this kind of situation or felt this kind of emotion. Nervousness is known as a type of emotional tension, involving tension and restlessness. When people are nervous, they find it hard to concentrate, sit still or move. They scratch, pace, fidget, and tap their foot, while feeling constantly jittery and appearing high-strung.
Nervousness appears for various reasons, whether it’s because of something troubling, happy or stressful. The feeling can be fleeting, or it can stay for a long time.
It’s normal for anyone to feel nervous every now and then, but there are instances when you have to diminish all the unpleasant feelings you keep. Overcoming nervousness can be a struggle, but there are easy ways to get through it. Try these tips to banish the unpleasant emotion.
The problem with many people is, when they’re about to encounter an important event, like a speech, presentation or an exam, they don’t think about it much, until the actual day. They are so sure of themselves, thinking that they can face the situation without any worries. They forget to properly ready themselves. When the day comes, they realize they’re not mentally and physically prepared. This makes them nervous, knowing that they’ll fail. Most of the time, they do.
Being confident is different from being actually prepared. Whatever important situation you may need to encounter, it’s important that you ready yourself and anticipate what’s coming. For example, if you’re taking a test, study well. If you need to make a presentation, prepare and organize the visual tools you’ll need, like charts, graphs, Powerpoint presentations or handouts. If you’re giving a speech, don’t ad-lib, and prepare what you’re going to say. Organize your thoughts and your stuff. Make notes, if you need to. Being physically prepared is also important, so ready your choice of clothes the night before. By knowing that you’re fully prepared, the tension will be lessened and you’ll be able to concentrate on the situation better.
Another sure way of preparing yourself is by practicing. By practicing, you get to have a preview of how things will look during the actual event. Here are some tips on practicing.
- For public speaking: Stand on the podium where you’re suppose to deliver the speech. Practice your stance, how you hold your notes, and your hand movements. Ask a couple of friends to observe you, and ask for some constructive criticism.
- For an exam: Have a “mock test”. Buy test booklets and pretend as if you’re actually taking the exam. Time yourself, and observe how well you do. Repeat the mock test a few times.
- For a performance: Memorize the steps or lyrics. Even when you’re not performing, listen to the song.
- For a work presentation: Keep track of your video or Powerpoint presentation. Review whatever handouts you’re providing. Know how the office equipment works.
It’s All In The Mind
Nervousness is a state of mind: it occurs because of unpleasant thoughts, fears and worries that plague a person (Learn how to get rid of fear). When these overcome your mind, you end up feeling pained and nervous. To solve this, you must control your mind. Diminish all the negative thoughts that dwell in your head, and stop thinking about nervousness itself. The more you keep thinking about how nervous you are, the more you will be unable to go through the event. Here are ways how.
- Establish a feel-good mantra. A mantra is a type of verbal repetition that you use to transform your state of mind. Develop a feel-good mantra, like “I am smart and confident, and I will pass this test,” or “Crowds are nothing to be afraid of”. Every time you feel nervous, close your eyes and let this mantra run through your head.
- Focus on positive thoughts – If you keep thinking that you’ll fail, you certainly will. Don’t let all the negative thoughts overpower you. Instead, dwell on positive reinforcements. For example, imagine the promotion that you’ll get if you deliver the presentation properly, or think about how your crush will admire you if you deliver your speech flawlessly. Thinking positive always yields positive results.
- Mind Exercises – You might need to train your mind a little for you to get good concentration and avoid feeling nervous during your big day. Here are a couple of tricks that might help you out:
- Imagine something that you felt nervous about in the past and keep that picture in your head. See yourself in the picture, looking through your own eyes. Think about what you see, feel and hear. Imagine yourself stepping out of the picture, until you’re just looking at it, but you are no longer in there. You can no longer hear, see and feel what you recently felt in the picture. At the same time, the nervous emotions will be gone.
- Think of yourself standing in front of a large crowd, with a nasty-looking person in front. You are scared of him, and he is trying to taunt you. Now, imagine yourself stripping him. Remove his tie, shirt and pants, until he is only in his undies. Make him look ridiculous: give him a potbelly, make him bald and make hair ringlets come out of his nose. There’s nothing scary about him now, and no reason for you to feel scared and nervous.
Soothe Your Mood With Music
If it can soothe the savage beast, then it can definitely calm a nervous wreck. Music is one of the most wonderful creations in the world. Its beautiful harmony, pleasant sound and fantastic rhythm can easily ease away any negative emotions. Whenever you feel anxious, listen to feel-good songs that will help lift and inspire you. Avoid sad, emo songs, or those that have negative lyrics. These will only bring your spirit down. Here are some songs you can listen to:
- Muzzle by Smashing Pumpkins
- Corner Of The Earth – Jamiroquai
- Nearer Than Heaven by Delays
- Beetlebum by Blur
- Dreams by The Cranberries
Avoid Those That Trigger Nervousness
Although nervousness is an emotional state, there are numerous factors that can trigger or worsen it, causing it to become more intense and hard to bear. Nervousness can come from something you ingest, or a vice that you do. Even allergies (For allergies removal, learn how to get rid of allergies), hormone imbalance, or PMS (premenstrual syndrome) (For PMS treatments, see how to get rid of PMS) in women can worsen nervousness. Although some of these nervousness-triggering factors can’t be avoided, there are some that you can do without, like:
- Medications – Some non-prescription and prescription drugs affect the cardiovascular system and the central nervous system, causing a feeling of nervousness.
- Caffeine – A known stimulant, this can provoke nervous agitation when taken in excessive amounts. Caffeine is present in coffee, tea, painkillers, chocolate, over-the-counter medications and soda.
- Alcohol – When they are sober, many alcoholics wake up with a terrible feeling of nervousness, and their immediate reaction is to reach for another glass to remove the unpleasant feeling.
- Illegal Drugs – Hyperactive nervousness is something you can get from drug abuse.
Stay away from these as much as possible. Not only do they cause nervousness to build up in you, they also bring adverse effects to your body.
Relax: Everything Will Turn Out Fine
It’s easy to become so engrossed in worries and ill thoughts, one reason why many people manage to become so nervous easily. Don’t let this overpower you. Relax; stretch, breathe in and out. Just remember that whatever ordeal or situation you’re about to face, you’ll pass through it immediately. If you pass it, unscathed, you succeed. If you fail, you can always try again. Don’t dwell on your failure, because for sure, life will give you other opportunities.
Whether it’s a large presentation in front of your boss, a speech at school, or a test you’re about to take, don’t let your nerves overpower you. With a little perseverance and confidence, you can pass through it. Remember these tips, and you’ll soon shun all those negative emotions away.
* They say people who get nervous often are those who don’t have enough self-confidence. They also have a very low self esteem. If you really want to banish your nervousness, you must learn how to build self-confidence and how to build self-esteem.
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