We all get it. The churning feeling in your stomach, generally accompanied by sweaty palms, shortness of breath, maybe some light-headedness, and if you are anything like me, the impulse to find the closest exit and get the heck out of there.
I have escaped meetings, classes, presentations, auditions, etc. because I would get these overwhelming feelings and did not know how to channel my personal power and overcome in the moment.
Let’s talk about that.
After struggling for so many years, I want to share a few tips for taking these moments and powering through like the warrior you really are.
1. EMBRACE THE BUTTERFLIES.
Yes, that nausea and swimmy feeling you get is actually a good thing. It is your body’s physiological response to something new, exciting, and possibly a bit scary. What I have discovered is the biggest rewards in life lie on the other side of fear.
2. BE PROACTIVE.
After years of being an overly reactive person, I have figured out my triggers and go into exciting and panic inducing situations mentally prepared, kind of like preparing for battle. You have to have your goal, your armor, and your weapons, all of which are already inside of you. Let’s say you are going to give a big, important presentation; you aren’t going to show up without preparing, right? Same goes for coping with the stress you might be feeling.
3. TAKE A MOMENT TO PROCESS.
It’s easy to immediately go into fight or flight mode and make a rash decision that could actually have long term impacts. I encourage you to stop, and give yourself time to work through the anxiety and feelings you may be experiencing.
4. USE YOUR TOOLS.
These can be calming exercises, inner dialogue, tangible tools, or even a person, an anxiety wingman per se. I always do a quick meditation prior to something exciting, have constant dialogue with myself to keep myself pumped and preoccupied, and when possible, I bring a safe and encouraging friend.
When I really get overly excited or anxious and start eyeing the door ready to pull a disappearing act, I utilize a calming breathing technique. This has been a GAME-CHANGER for me and helped me power through some of the most nausea and sweat inducing situations. I have actually done this breath technique in the middle of a crowd, before speaking in public, and before an extremely important business call. Nobody noticed and it kept me from bolting so win/win.
5. YOU CAN DO ANYTHING.
Cliche? Maybe so. Is it the truth? Absolutely. We are capable of so many amazing and life changing things if we can overcome our biggest obstacles, which are mostly our self-doubt and fear.
Start that novel you’ve been thinking about for years. Go on that week long hike up the coast. Run for office. Create a business. It is all possible, I promise.
Here is a breathing technique provided by Megan that I utilize in stressful, butterfly inducing situations.
7 second inhale 1 second hold 7 second exhale
This calms your breath rate down to 4 per minute and helps take you out of the anxious “get me out of here” mode.
If you are driving a vehicle:
4 second inhale 4 second exhale
Now go give those butterflies in your tummy a big hug and enjoy the reward waiting on the other side of fear. You’ve got this.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”― Nelson Mandela