What do you do when the anxiety and panic have moved from a mental to a physical problem? You begin by playing mind games with yourself, and all of a sudden your heart is beating out of control, your hands are sweating, and your stomach is about to double over with the worry of being in the public eye. You must understand that you do have some control. Notice I wrote “some” and not “total.” As stated earlier, we need to accept the fact that the anxiety may never go away completely. However, can you use the built-up energy to your advantage? Let’s start with the easiest step—take deep breaths. I mean really deep. Not quick and shallow to say you did it, but deep down to your diaphragm. Next, find where the tension is building up. Is it in your neck, shoulders, or fingers? Like an athlete, begin to ease the tension by stretching out the parts of your body that need it most. By concentrating on relaxing the tension in specific sections of your body, you will ease the mental games and feel the physical tension dissipate.
Additionally, you should prepare ahead of time to minimize the physical symptoms for the presentation. This can be accomplished by getting plenty of rest and by avoiding caffeine. I found myself in front of over one hundred individuals at a presentation at the local YMCA when my hands and arms began to shake uncontrollably. Interestingly, I felt great that day and did not feel nervous at all. I realized I’d had a soda with caffeine in it a couple of hours before the event. Although I was not nervous, I was excited and found that when the building adrenaline kicked in, the caffeine decided to join in the fun.
Another way to stay limber and control your body is through exercise. In addition to having a normal cardiovascular routine that keeps your heart strong, you should try to exercise a couple of hours prior to the presentation, if possible, to get the blood flowing and your body stabilized. Some people like to use meditation and yoga as other means to prepare themselves. The final tip is to stay within as much of your own routine as possible. The routine adds further stability, due to your familiarity with what’s going on around you. This mental comfort will add to your physical comfort.
Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):
- Down the Chute: A Toboggan Tale (children’s book)
- Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
- Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
- Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
- The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
- From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
- The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood