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  • We often feel tense and uptight before job interviews, blind dates, and otherwise nerve-racking situations.
  • And while it appears that there’s nothing we can do but wait it out, there are effective ways to relieve your tense feelings right now.
  • First, you should adjust your perspective and instead of focusing on what could go wrong, look at what could go right based on your strengths and past successes.
  • Additionally, investing your energy elsewhere can help you to loosen up: try going on a walk, listening to relaxing music, journaling, engaging in a favorite activity, or practicing mindful mediation.

Oftentimes, an upcoming job interview, blind date, or otherwise anxiety-inducing situation can leave us feeling tense and uptight. We ruminate about how poorly it could go, causing our muscles to tighten up, our breath to quicken, and our hearts to race. It seems as if there’s no escaping this uncomfortable predicament—not until the nerve-racking event has come and gone. But that’s simply not the case. You can loosen up and relieve your tense feelings by adjusting your perspective and expending your energy on something more productive (not to mention enjoyable).

A Boost of Confidence: Key to Loosening Up?

Robyn Gold, licensed clinical social worker, says that a little change of perspective can go a long way. Instead of focusing on what could go wrong, focus on what could go right! Your strengths can aid you in virtually any situation if you only recognize and tap into those strengths. If it’s difficult for you to recognize your good qualities, thinking about past successes can help just the same. Gold delves deeper:

“For individuals who are feeling tense or worried about an important upcoming event such as a job interview or blind date, one of the most helpful things I would advise you to do would be to acknowledge your strengths. Think about all of the positive things you have to offer the world. If you have a hard time coming up with a list like this, try taking a step back from the situation and think about how close loved ones would describe you. You can also do this by thinking about times in your life in which you have been successful. How were you successful in that situation? What qualities do you have that helped you succeed? Focusing on these strengths can help you feel more confident and less tense.

5 Basic Tips for Mellowing Out

Now, in addition to acknowledging and capitalizing on your strengths, you can employ some more basic strategies for mellowing out when you’re feeling tense. Try taking a stroll around the block, listening to your favorite music, journaling, engaging in a favorite activity, or focusing on the present moment:

1) Take a walk. If you’re feeling tense, take a walk around the block. This will quickly help you to calm those nerves and feel grounded again, as it’ll give you something to focus on other than the nerve-racking event. Additionally, exercising (even for a short amount of time) and spending time immersed in nature have proven to aid in stress relief.

2) Plug in. Another foolproof way to calm those nerves and relax is to listen to your favorite music. Put on your favorite playlist and just plug in—focus on the beat, the lyrics, the tone of the singer’s voice. Combine this practice with the former and you have a powerful attack! You’ll feel relaxed in no time.

3) Put pen to paper. You can also relax by facing your feelings head on and writing about them in a journal. If you aren’t used to journaling, you should know that there aren’t any rules you have to follow! You don’t have to fill pages and pages with long-handed script. You can just jot down a few sentences or let it flow until you don’t feel like writing anymore. In any case, journaling will help you to understand your feelings and relax.

4) Enjoy yourself. This basic tip is not a trick! You can relax and relieve your tense feelings by simply doing something you enjoy. Do you like to do yoga? Do you enjoy reading? What about working on a puzzle? Whatever it is, engaging in an activity you enjoy can help you to relax and feel grounded again.

5) Focus on right now. Finally, if you’re feeling tense, try to re-center your mind. Focus not on the anxiety-inducing event ahead or the past nerve-racking situation, but the right now. You are safe. You’re on your yoga mat, curled up in the nook of your couch with a book, or peering over a soon-to-be masterpiece made out of puzzle pieces. And everything is okay.

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is a staff writer at Thriveworks. She devotes herself to distributing important information about mental health and wellbeing, writing mental health news and self-improvement tips daily. Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism, with minors in professional writing and leadership from Virginia Tech. She has published content on Thought Catalog, Odyssey, and The Traveling Parent.

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