What to do if you feel nervous

Feeling nervous about any big or not-so-big event – an exam, public speaking, a job interview, a competition – is normal. These things can make us both excited and uncomfortably jittery.

Maybe we won’t be able to cool ourselves down 100% but we can use some strategies that may help us deal with those nerves.

1. Ask yourself why am I feeling nervous? You cannot manage a problem if you don’t understand what it is.

If you feel nervous about an event for example, try to imagine what it is that you are scared of. If you have to speak in public for example, what is the worst that can happen? Awkward silence from the crowd, someone asking you something you cannot answer, people chatting while you’re talking…?

There are things that you can control and there are those you cannot. Figure out what these are! Focusing on things you cannot control is a waste of mental energy. Improving yourself on the things you can control can be a very productive process of self development.

2. Do the work!

If you are training for a dance competition, for example, the only thing you can do is be 100% prepared. Know your choreography inside out. Know your music back to front. Practice until your body knows the moves itself as if by second nature, even when you’re distracted. Prepare yourself as best as you can and…

3. Trust yourself!

Being prepared and knowing that you did everything you could will give you confidence. Trust me on that – when you give it your all, you will calm down a bit because you simply cannot do more than you’ve done.

What will the outcome be? You cannot predict the future so what’s the point of being nervous about that? You go, you do your best and you see if that’s enough. It sounds ridiculously simple but that is truly all you can do. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

And if you still don’t feel confident and you don’t trust in your abilities you need to go back to Step 1 and start over again.

4. Don’t avoid challenges.

Avoiding things that might seem hard leads to a lack of confidence. Completing difficult tasks helps you develop trust in yourself. Not confident that you can do the work? The only way to change that is by trying. Unfortunately there’s no better strategy.

Feeling nervous occurs as a reflection of a lack of confidence. If you develop an ability to confront and meet challenges, those nerves will lessen over time.

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