Illustration of nervewracking meeting

5 Ways to Relax Before a Nerve-Wracking Meeting

Meetings can be nerve-wracking for a number of reasons.  Perhaps it’s a performance review, or perhaps it’s your turn to make a presentation.  On the other hand, maybe meetings just aren’t your thing. Either way, they can take a toll on your mental health and can hold you hostage in an invisible bundle of chains.  But you know you have much more potential. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of 5 ways to relax before a nerve-wracking meeting.

1. Understand that it’s okay to be nervous.

Everyone gets nervous now and then.  If meetings — or one specific meeting in particular — is your kryptonite, that’s okay.  Everyone gets “butterflies in the stomach” once in a while. You’re not alone, and you’re not weak because of it.  It doesn’t make you less of a person and professional. You’re just nervous, and that’s okay.  Don’t try to fight it.  Embrace it. As a result, you’ll find that you can conquer it.

2. Hydrate.

If you have a moment before the meeting to sit at your desk, try sipping some sparkling water or herbal tea. Peppermint, chamomile, lemon balm, passion flower, green, and rose teas are all proven to help reduce anxiety and stress. Do NOT drink coffee, because it will agitate you and will make you even more anxious.  The thing to remember is that you’re looking to calm your jitters, not become more tense and anxious.

3. Focus on the positive.

Don’t sit there and think about what could go wrong or what they might say. or how they’ll say it. You have no control over those things. Instead, focus on the good aspects of the meeting, the day, or even the last 48 hours. How great was that dinner last night? Where do you want to meet your co-workers or friends for lunch?  Even if it seems silly, dwell on it if it makes you happy. It will prevent you from obsessing about the meeting. As a result, your nerves will calm down.

4. Get physical!

Engage in some light exercise.  Go for a walk, move around, do yoga, jog in place for a moment, or stand in a doorway and press your palms against the sides while holding your breath. You can even give your pressure points a quick massage to ease tension.  Any physical activity will help clear your mind and reduce your stress.

5. Breathe deeply.

It seems like a silly suggestion, doesn’t it? Breathing comes naturally to most people.  Yet, at the same time, we have to remind ourselves how to breathe correctly in times of anxiety and high stress. Remember to breathe in deep through your nose, and out through your mouth.

Give these five tips a try, and watch how you can walk calmly into your next meeting!