How to Overcome Nervousness: 7 Simple Habits

“Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”

Benjamin Franklin


It starts with just a little tremble within. Then a pressure builds up.

A hand or foot starts to fidget. Your palms become moist and you start to feel not quite like yourself anymore. The inner calmness you felt has flown out the window.

Nervousness is back, like an old friend you didn’t want to see.

So what can you do at this point?

Here are 7 of my favorite habits for dealing with and overcoming nervousness.

1. Prepare if possible.

A bit obvious. But doing your preparation in time and not at the last minute and doing the preparation well – without trying to do it perfectly – rather than somewhat sloppily make a big difference.

2. Ask yourself: what is the worst that could realistically happen?

3. Visualize in a positive way.

4. Slow down and breathe with your belly.

A few minutes before you step into the situation that makes you nervous slow down. Walk slower to the meeting place. Move slower. Even stop for a minute if you like and stand still.

Then breathe through your nose. Take a little deeper breaths than you usually do. Make sure you breathe with your belly. Not with your chest (a common problem when people get stressed or nervous).

5. Assume rapport in social situations.

This means that just before you met someone you pretend and think to yourself that you are meeting one of your best friends.

Then you’ll naturally slip into a much more relaxed, comfortable, confident and enjoyable emotional state and frame of mind. In this state of mind the conversation tends to flow more naturally too, without much thinking. Just like with your friends.

6. Remember: people don’t think about you and what you do that much really.

You may feel like everyone is watching, judging and thinking about you a whole lot. But a sobering realisation is that people simply don’t care that much about what you do.

7. Tell yourself that you are excited.

Harness the nervous energy into something that will help you.

When the nervousness bubbles up, tell yourself that you are excited about the meeting, presentation etc. This helps you to change perspective on what is happening inside to get a boost of enthusiasm and openness for a short while.