5 stress-relief exercises that will calm your interview anxiety
Turn your bundle of nerves into a bevy of offers.
Let’s face it: No one likes to be judged, but like it or not, that is exactly what a job interview is: a judgment zone. It’s also your chance to show that you’re the right person for the job, but if you’re not confident that you’ve got what it takes, the interviewer won’t be either.
If it’s any comfort, know that plenty of people are worried that their anxiety will sabotage their job-interview performance. According to a 2013 study by Harris Interactive and Everest College, 92% of U.S. adults are anxious about job interviews, and 17% of people ranked fear of being nervous as their top concern. (That’s so meta.)
Luckily, you can cross “nervous about being nervous” off your list with these stress-relief exercises that will help to calm your job interview anxiety.
Do a mental dress rehearsal
“Research shows that experiencing success increases our confidence, even if that experience is imagined,” says Harley Sears, an Arkansas-based consulting hypnotist.
To get into a mental rehearsal, Sears recommends that you make yourself comfortable, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and allow your muscles to relax.
“See yourself as calm, focused, and prepared—confidently answering any questions throughout the successful interview. Allow yourself to feel strong, confident, and proud while visualizing your successful interview.”
Listen to a motivational playlist
Star in your own episode of Carpool Karaoke on your way to the interview, and you could sing your way into a Zen-like state for interview success.
“Movement and music can instantly get you in a place of confidence,” says Jennifer Davis, a New Jersey-based leadership coach. “Pick a favorite song that fills your heart with passion. Songs and movements that connect you with your best self will allow you to fully experience power in the moment, and then you can go in and crush it!”
Give yourself a pep talk
Do you sometimes catch yourself talking to yourself? It’s ok. We all do it. Well, according to Patricia Thompson, president of Silver Lining Psychology, an Atlanta-based corporate psychology and management consulting firm, that’s exactly what you want to do before an interview to get in the right headspace.
Thompson actually suggests a trick to personalize your pep talk even more: “Use your own name. Research suggests that it helps you to distance yourself a bit from the situation, and instead of getting caught up in the anxiety of it, can help you to have a greater sense of perspective,” she says.
Watch funny videos
Finally, there’s a time when it is productive—and prescriptive—to watch cat videos. Thompson says there’s a benefit to watching a few funny videos before you head into your interview. “Having a good belly laugh relaxes you and puts you in a better mood. It has also been linked to reduces in certain stress hormones in the body,” she says. Good laugh, good interview.
Exaggerate your fears
This might sound like the absolute opposite of a calming exercise, but as you’re preparing for your interview, ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen…then amplify it.
“Most people try to stifle anxious thoughts with positivity, but voicing your worst fears is more effective,” says Jackie Viramontez, a Los Angeles-based life coach. “The exaggeration method allows you to laugh at yourself and regain a practical perspective.”
So think about what you fear most. Is it blanking on a question? Spilling your coffee? Play that scenario out, and you may just calm those jitters by having the experience in the safety of your own home.