Who else can relate to the whole Palms-Sweaty-Mom’s-Spaghetti nervous Nellies? I feel them a lot from the most everyday thing-ordering a coffee from the cool kiwi baristas, what if they laugh at my coconut latte order cause it’s all about the oat flat white right now? To the most extreme-talking at a job interview with alarming speed, Ariana-level high pitch, little volume and Sahara-like dry mouth and oh-Gawd-what-am-I-even-saying? Snap back to reality, ope there goes gravity.
Nervousness hits me with a racing heart, dry mouth, butterfly-enclosure stomach and yes sweaty palms and just bucket loads of sweat in general. These flight or fight feelings are unpleasant but not fatal and I have developed some techniques over the years to keep them at bay so I can function like a normal human being at a café or a workplace.
Focus on the other person: What sicko came up with ‘picturing the audience in their underwear’ to put your mind at ease? Yikes! No thanks to the tighty whitey imaginations. But yes please to imagining them, as Louise Hay suggests, as a young child looking for love and acceptance as we all were once. This humanises everyone from scary boss to hipster morning-brown server, shifting your focus from yourself to them. Look into their eyes, look into their eyes, the eyes, the eyes, not around the eyes, don’t look around their eyes, look into their eyes. If on video chat, minimise yourself or hide your own screen so you don’t get caught up in your own head worrying about your hair. Also get some perspective, this may only be your 4th driving test (I’m an excellent driver) but your tester does this all day err’ day and is unattached from the outcome (as ‘A Little Bit’ Alexis reminds David in Schitt’s Creek).
Alexis: Okay, you are acting all sorts of crazy right now. This honestly does not matter. Nobody cares.
David: Uh, people care. I care, the driving examiner person cares.
Alexis: No, he doesn’t. Trust me, people aren’t thinking about you the way that you’re thinking about you.
Before and After: Aim to shift yourself into a peaceful and positive state before the event. For me this could include visualising everything going smoothly, and some practising if possible, rope a friend into playing the role of interviewer/ do as many practice tests as you can. My online dating nerves, for example, started at Panic-attack Levels and reduced to Moderate-Nausea by First-date 15. Listen to some upbeat music or a podcast before like Eminem or Hamish and Andy to shift your state. Plan something for after so you know that there will be an after and the world won’t end (most probably). I remind myself of something simple like, after the test-I’ll listen to the rest of that Podcast on the way home. When I get home, I’ll read another chapter of that book/ eat those leftovers in the fridge. I also say to myself, if I don’t like this, I don’t have to do it again or not for a long time anyway. Which makes me feel more ‘in control’.
Ground Yourself: Slow down your breathing to ground yourself in the present. Try some box breathing:
1: Slowly exhale. Sitting upright, slowly exhale through your mouth, getting all the oxygen out of your lungs.
2: Slowly inhale. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose to the count of four.
3: Hold your breath for the count of four.
4: Exhale again for the count of four
5: Hold your breath again.
My kinesiologist taught me the technique to look around and name things you can physically see in your head; tree, car, person, dog, computer etc. This gets you out of your head and into the moment. Life is going on as normal all around you.
Try these techniques if you’re a nervous Nellie like me! Because Success is my only motherfuckin’ option, failure’s not.
Much love and luck xoxo Yvette
“I was playing in the beginning, the mood all changed”:
“Look into my eyes”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aZ2bdnG97A
“David. Nobody Cares!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkXAutT_6Wc
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