What if being nervous was not labelled as a bad feeling? What if accepting this feeling and not calling it neither good nor bad could help us decrease our stress?
I teach my clients the deep breathing technique. That's the basis for voice training and also my go-to answer to decrease stress before a presentation.
I tell them to take a moment before they step in front of their audience to focus on their breath. To breathe in filling the belly up with air and breathing out, usually forming the sound sss or shhhhh.
I have a good reason for this: it's actually scientifically proven that deep breathing helps supply our brain with increased oxygen and calms down the nervous system.
And yet lately I have been discussing with my clients that there seems to be something missing...
When we have to step in front of an audience we feel nervous. Our heart races, our knees shake, our hands tremble and our mouth is dry. We obviously don't want to feel this way, so we resist. We resist being this nervous wreck. We resist showing this vulnerable side of ourselves. We resist feeling so utterly at the mercy of our audience.
We resist these 'bad' feelings because we want to project good feelings like happiness, calm, competence and above all confidence, right?
So what if we didn't label and resist, but just accepted them?
Through a mindful approach we can just accept or even embrace these feelings. We can let them be what they are and let them help us connect to our true selves on a deeper level.
So here's something to try next time you have a 'bad' feeling or are nervous about an upcoming speech or presentation.
Accept this feeling and just let it pass through you. Tell yourself: 'yes, I am nervous. And that is neither good nor bad. It just is. I am letting it help me be more true to myself. I am letting it give me the energy I need to do an amazing job.'
And then see what happens!