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The How-To Lounge: Calming Your Nerves

I think it's fair to say everyone has suffered from jitters and nerves before a big meeting, speaking in public or in anticipation of a social engagement. According to O Magazine, an estimated 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorder, so here are some tips to help you calm those nerves.

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  • The most important tip is to give into your anxiety. Pushing it away or trying to ignore it will only make it worse, so face it straight on and accept your nervousness.
  • Don't let your anxiety make you absent-minded about what's around you. If you are nervous about a meeting, make sure you are listening to what is being said; don't let your mind wander, or else you are bound to get more anxious if you are called on and weren't paying attention to what was said.
  • Don't be too hard on yourself for getting a bad case of the jitters. No one is perfect and no one expects you to be, so make sure to give yourself a break.
  • Ask for what you need in order to make you feel less anxious.
  • Take a stand and express yourself. Don't be a push over, as it will just cause more anxiety later on down the road.
  • Face your fear by doing a similar activity on a lesser scale. If it's socializing with strangers that makes your heart pound and your palms sweat, practice with a smaller group with someone you trust by your side. Ease your way into feeling comfortable with your fear

If you have any other good tips, please share them with us, the more the merrier!

Join The Conversation
Misskastar Misskastar 9 years
I took this test and I find out how I did tomorrow. When I got the email that said my score would be available tomorrow, my stomach DROPPED. I felt nauseous. It was crazy!!!! I couldn't breathe almost. I'm better now, but I still start to get nervous and tense when I think about it. I was nervous for the test but I am beyond nervous to get that score. I don't know how I am going to do it. It is mental but it also manifests itself PHYSICALLY! I hate this feeling. I am going to try the breathing tips. This article is so timely! Thanks = )
designerel designerel 9 years
Nice tips! I'm constantly in front of groups of different people for my job and trust me, I get the jitters BAD. Thanks!
spazzydana spazzydana 9 years
phew i need this. im playing a solo in front of 100 or more people. this WILL come in handy
Eternity Eternity 9 years
I also have generalized anxiety disorder, and my methods of controlling it go like this: 1. counting 2. putting on the mental mask. This is a childhood tactic that works amazingly well, but you have to adopt a different kind of complex altogether to get it to be effective, which is being able to switch on a different personality, or get into 'character'. I used this at work when dealing with high pressure projects and imbeciles that would otherwise cause me to totally meltdown or cry. 3. drowning out sound. The quieter the environment is, as far as extremely loud or annoying noises, the better. 4. cut out the majority of sugar and caffeine, as well as over processed dairy products which are known to aggravate anxiety. 5. learning body language and positioning that allows me to stay in control or exude confidence in an under-confident or insecure situation. This includes avoiding crossing my arms, fidgeting, and making sure I am positioned at an angle to people or furniture etc that makes me feel comfortable. 6. Wearing comfortable clothes. Don't wear something stupid, however fashionable, if you are not totally comfortable in it. 7. focus objects. If I am in a situation where the anxiety is causing me to obsess, I use focus objects (this can be a spot on the wall) to focus all of the thoughs and energy. Yoga is a great outlet too. 8. large amounts of green tea with Valerian 9. Sex 10. Leaving my work environment for a 'virtual' position that allowed me to work from a safe, comfortable, distraction free environment. Here is a cool link for those of you affected by the ever-increasing anxiety inducing corporate culture:
qtpye0831 qtpye0831 9 years
I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder a few years ago. I have frequent panic attacks before my exams...Speaking of which, I have 2 tomorrow :-( One thing I found to help is called "Rescue Remedy"....It's this liquid you can order over the internet that has different flower extracts that is used as a homeopathic remedy...It might just be a placebo effect but hey, whatever works right?
AujahAcorn AujahAcorn 9 years
one big one to remmember is to breath. count to 4 on the intake of air with your nose. count to 6 or 9 on the exhail through your mouth. to that a few times and you will feel yourself relax. i just did it once sitting here at my desk and my body feels way more relaxed and focused
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