There are a lot of great ways to calm your nerves before you step into the spotlight, but it might also help to refashion what you’re feeling instead of trying to suppress it.
Photo by Biblioteca Centrala a BM.
A recent study, led by Alison Wood Brooks at Harvard Business School, and published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, suggests that a simple shift in mindset can help you use your own nerves to your advantage. In the study, participants who announced that they were excited, not nervous, were perceived as more persuasive and competent during their speeches. The researchers explain that nervousness and excitement are both high states of arousal, so you can manipulate your mind-body connection to make what you’re feeling seem positive. Basically, your mind is tricking your body by switching the circuits. By verbally acknowledging your feelings as excitement, you can harness that nervous energy instead of fighting against it. You’re not shaking because you’re anxious, you’re shaking because you can’t wait to say what you have to say.
Get Excited: Reappraising Pre-Performance Anxiety as Excitement [Journal of Experimental Psychology via Inc.]