Nervousness comes becomes because we are agitated and are fearful of some event or person. We are often nervous at critical junctures in our life. However being nervous will not help in any way; when we are nervous we lose our clarity of thought. Consciously or unconsciously people will also pick up on our agitated state of mind; we should endeavour to overcome this feeling of nervousness.
These are some practical suggestions for overcoming Nervousness.
1. Breathe deeply and slowly. If we are anxious and fearful, taking time to consciously breathe slowly will help quite a lot. Gentle breathing has a calming influence on our mind. When we are anxious or nervous our breathing will be heavy or rushed.
2. Feel Nervousness is a real enemy. We shouldn’t feel nervousness is inevitable. We should make a determined effort to avoid a feeling of nervousness.
3. Don’t take the situation too seriously. Avoid thinking about the consequence of an interview or exam. When we speculate about the future, our mind is likely to exaggerate potential bad consequences. However in reality things are never as bad as we may fear. For example if one job falls through, something better may turn up. The important thing though is not to keep focusing on the importance of a situation. Just concentrate on doing the task in hand. You can consider the implications later.
4. Feel a sense of identity with the audience. If you are nervous about performing in front of a large crowd. You can visualise the audience as just one person who is yourself. When you play on your own you feel no nervousness. But if you feel there are a 1000 people out to judge you then naturally you will feel nervous. However if you develop a sense of oneness with the audience you will not feel this separation and therefore nervousness. Sri Chinmoy suggests:
“If you see many people watching you, naturally you become nervous. You feel that they are judging you or criticising you. But if you take all of them as yourself, then you will not be nervous. "
5. Cultivate equanimity and detachment. The inner nature of our soul is peace and equanimity. If we can bring this inner poise to the fore we will not feel nervous. To develop our inner poise we should learn not to place all emphasis on the result and outcome. We should feel that we will do a task as best we can, but whatever the result we shall retain a calm detachment. Remember this saying of Thomas Jefferson:
“Nothing gives a person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances. "
6. Smile and Laugh. When we are nervous we get very tense. Smiling helps to release the mental and physical tension we feel.
7. Meditation. Through meditation we can create a permanent sense of inner peace, which acts as a soothing background for all outer circumstances. Meditation is the art of quietening the mind and bringing the inner peace of the soul to the fore. When we increase our meditative capacity we will find our nervousness disappears.
8. Don’t dwell on the object of concern. Try to find something to take your mind off it. If you have an exam the next day. Don’t spend all night thinking about it.
R. Pettinger is an teacher in Oxford. He also has an interest in meditation and offers free meditation classes on behalf of the Sri Chinmoy Centre. Richard edits a site about his meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy