You’ve been prepping for your next dream project in front of your dog or your next presentation in front of your boss all week. You have it all written down and it sounds dynamite.
On paper, there is nothing that can stop you from the congratulated handshake at the end or a round of applause. You check yourself out in the mirror, give yourself a little pep talk, but when you walk in the room, anxiety kicks in and you see everything fly out of the window. You find yourself frozen gazing upon eyes staring back at you, patiently waiting for you to speak. You fumble your welcoming statement from your throat muscles constricting causing you, even more, anxiety.
Whatever you have done in the past doesn’t seem to be helping this time and the thought of this gives you self-doubt which perpetually (of course) gives you more anxiety.
I’ve been there and you’ve been there. Let’s not do it again.
Try these tricks to let your inner confident ego shine through, regardless of any level of stress you feel with the current situation at hand.
La-la-la your way through your vocal cords. Certainly, when you exercise, run, or play sports, a healthy warm-up is a good way to prepare, improve your performance, and prevent injury to yourself. The same practices hold true when you need to use your voice too. A short vocal warm up improves the quality of the sounds you make. In your car, on your way to your next anxiety high situation, do a few vocal warm-up exercises beforehand. Or arrive a few minutes early and give it a whirl in the bathroom. Encourage yourself to do it in a bathroom that is made for just one. Putting yourself in the uncomfortable situation of someone in the stall hearing you will already prep you for speaking in front of a few more people. The American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery has great warm-up exercises here to help break the uncomfortable feeling you feel and your words to hold more strength.
Watch your Caffeine. Naturally, you may reach for a little pep in your step. We totally agree, but don’t over do it. If you have too much caffeine in your system or introducing it all at once, your anxiety can feel even worse. The right amount of caffeine to not feel like you aren’t completely bouncing off the wall, yet keeps you fired up is about 100mg-125mg which is exactly why we think our Eboost Energy Powders are great before any presentation!
Focus on a longer exhale of your breath. Favoring the exhale of your breath signals your body to calm down. Whatever inhale breath you choose, create a longer exhale for at least a couple extra counts. For example, breathe in for 4 and out for 6 or more counts. Focusing on your breath eases your mind and will automatically slow down your thoughts, allowing you to think thoroughly before you speak. We also chatted more about alternating nostril breathing here, if you’d like to give this a try too!
Chest Up. It isn’t just about getting your chin up, puff up that chest too. No, not like Tarzan proclaiming your power to the king of the jungle, but just a slight upward lift in the chest. It is what people are referring to when they speak of a ‘Power Pose’. Rotate your shoulders back and down, lift your chest up and feel strong in your stance. Opening your heart and energy to your present situation creates a subconscious welcoming of your present self into your life energy. And even if I just went a bit deep for you in a direction that you aren’t used, check these ‘5 Secrets to Speaking with Confidence‘ by The American Bar Association.
Make Yourself Smile. No, don’t put some cheesy fake grin on your face. Think of something that makes you smile. Maybe it is your grandmother’s face, your partner, a furry friend or your nephew’s laugh. Find something that makes you smile. Get your good endorphins flowing and you’ll be amazed as to how great and confident you feel without even noticing the anxiety anymore.
Just remember you got this, you don’t need anyone else but yourself to believe you can do it!
What do you think? What helps you keep anxiety at bay in high-stress situations?
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