by Lisa Bernier
Your stomach is sinking. Your palms are sweating. You’re sure if you put makeup on, it will only run down your face a minute later as you burst into nervous tears and totally implode your date/interview/anything barely ten minutes in. Therefore, to escape that inglorious fate, here are a five tips in order to help you calm your nerves:
1. Try to arrange some downtime in the day to take a breath and just be
You’d be surprised how much this makes a difference. In the type of society we live in, it’s easy to run from one commitment to another like a chicken with its head cut off while texting on its iPhone. However, that doesn’t do much to soothe frayed nerves if you are already on edge. Therefore, if you have a big anything coming up, take at least 10 minutes to center yourself. Breathe. Maybe surf a funny blog, or watch a cute YouTube video. You’d be surprised how much this will help you clear your mind and calm you down.
I’m not suggesting you have a five course dinner when you’re already jittery. However, don’t do anything important on an empty stomach. I don’t know it happens, but I’ll be cranky and doing my best impression of the Abdomidable Snowwoman on PMS...and then, I’ll eat a granola bar. Suddenly I’ll be smiling, and my inner Abdomidable melts into a cute, furry Ewok. So snack on an apple, or some peanut-butter and crackers before you leave. Plus, if there’s drinking involved, it’s better not to do so on a completely empty stomach.
3. Never picture anyone in their underpants. Or naked.
I don’t know who first gave this advice and how it gained popularity, but I’ve found that it’s a terrible way to calm your nerves. First, it’s awkward. Second, shouldn’t you be concentrating on what people are saying or doing instead of them sans clothing? Third, I guarantee you, if you focus on that naked picture, whatever you were saying (or going to say) is going to fly out of your head.
Instead, try picturing a good friend or family member who you are close to--and probably practiced your speech/date chit-chat with. It will immediately loosen you up, is not nearly as distracting, and hopefully as the date/interview/anything continues, you can discard your mental avatar and be fully present and charming.
4. Dress to Impress
Looking good is feeling good, and you should take the time and effort to make sure you already have that outward confidence boost. Whether it be an interview or a date, that gray power suit or that slinky LBD immediately helps to inform attitude. Don’t dress for the Met Opera Ball, but definitely put on some good makeup, some great (but comfortable) shoes, and an outfit that helps you to feel the best possible you. You’ll slay ‘em on first impression--and first impressions count a lot.
5. Listen to a song beforehand to get you in the mood
Whether its the latest girl-power Beyonce anthem, or a sultry, smooth bit of jazz, music is an emotional touchstone. I know it helps me to clear my mind and settle my nerves every time. For a kick-butt, I usually go to the Arctic Monkeys, or Muse. If I want to chill out, Elizabeth & The Catapult is my usual choice. As for feeling happy, well, Jason Mraz or Bruno Mars always do it best.