3-Minute Exercises To Calm Jittery Nerves Before A Job Interview

How many times have you had that sinking feeling when sitting down to complete a job resume? Or butterflies in your stomach before the actual interview? Fully, 73% of job seekers say looking for work is one of the most nerve-racking experiences in life, and 93% admit to severe jitters before an interview. The stress of job seeking can lead to an array of mental health issues for applicants. Stress and anxiety can interfere with a good interview performance. What will the interview be like? Who will conduct it? Will I be able to be on the top of my game?

3-Minute Exercises To Calm Jittery Nerves Before A Job Interview

The interview hurdle is even greater for the 40% of the population who are introverts. Job seeker anxiety can be so great, that 70% of applicants lie on their resumes. Others resort to using AI to polish their resumes, although the practice is frowned upon. And Google searches for ‘fast stress relief’ are rising by more than 205%. Here are three 3-minute relaxing techniques to stretch your mind and body so you can ace a job interview.

1- A Three-Minute Flexibility Routine Mitigates Stress

According to Walter Gjergja, co-founder and Chief Wellness Officer at Zing Coach, your muscles tend to contract and tighten when you are stressed, which causes all sorts of aches and pains. “Stretching elongates them again, encouraging them to relax and relieving built-up tension,” Gjergja explains. “It also increases blood flow to your muscles, delivering oxygen and nutrients while removing metabolic waste from your body and any soreness and stiffness with it.”

Gjergja recommends that when you feel your stress levels rising before the job interview, don’t sit and wait for your muscles to tighten up. A few minutes of stretching is often all you need. He suggests holding each of the following exercises for 20-30 seconds before switching sides or moving on to the next one, and your body and mind will feel better in no time:

Neck stretch: Gently tilt your head to one side, bringing your ear towards your shoulder until you feel a stretch in the side of your neck.

Shoulder stretch: Bring one arm across your body and use your other hand to gently press it closer to your chest until you feel a stretch in your shoulder.

Upper back stretch: Sit or stand tall, interlock your fingers in front of you, and push your palms away from your body while rounding your upper back.

Spinal twist: Sit on the floor and extend your legs out in front of you. Bend one knee and cross it over the opposite leg, placing the foot flat on the floor. Twist your torso towards the bent knee, using the opposite arm to hug it close to your body.

Forward fold: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hinge forward at your hips, allowing your upper body to hang down towards the floor.

Quadriceps stretch: Stand tall and bring one heel towards your buttocks, grabbing your ankle with your hand. Keep your knees close together and gently push your hips forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your thigh.

To make the exercise more effective, Gjergja advises that you follow these four tips:

Don’t hold your breath. Breathe fully and focus solely on it (rather than the worries in the back of your mind).

There’s no benefit to rushing. If you experience muscle pain, slow down and use a smaller range of motion, gradually increasing it as the tension releases.

Don’t forget to hydrate. A sip of water between each exercise can prevent crepitation—that uncomfortable crunching sound you hear when you move.

Relax. Approach stretching as you would meditation. Put on some calming music and focus on your body, not your thoughts.

“What’s good for the body is usually good for the mind,” Walter declares. “Stretching offers a rare reprieve from your thoughts, reducing cortisol that typically builds up when you're stressed and causes ill health. It also stimulates the release of endorphins—happiness hormones—that will help you to feel happier and healthy again. A tense mind cannot ‘live’ in a relaxed body, therefore by reducing physical tensions we induce simultaneous mental relaxation.”

2- A Three-Minute Exercise Clears Your Mind

Before a job interview, you might feel out of your body or in some other way un-grounded. The practice of “Grounding” helps you feel connected to the earth and brings your prefrontal cortex back on line. Find a comfortable sitting position in a chair with a back to it. Sitting up straight, notice how the back of the chair is supporting your back. Bring your full attention to that area of support and focus there for one minute.

Then bring your attention to your feet resting on the floor. Pay attention to the bottom of your feet and the support of the ground or floor underneath. Focus on that area of support for one minute.

Next bring your attention to your bottom on the chair. Focus on the support of the chair underneath your bottom for one minute. After three minutes of grounding, notice the sensations of your breathing, heart rate and muscle tone. Most people say they feel more relaxed, more in their bodies and that breathing and heart rate slow down and muscles loosen.

3- A Three-Minute Exercise Calms Your Nervous System

The pendulum exercise refers to the natural swing of your nervous system between sensations of well-being and body stress. Before a stressful interview, the pendulum routine calms down your nervous system. With your eyes closed, notice a place in your body where you feel stress. It can show up as pain, an ache, constriction or discomfort. Then swing your attention to a place in your body where you feel less stress or no stress or tension. Focus there on the absence of stress, noticing your bodily sensations: steady heartbeat, softened jaw or relaxed muscles. Remain focused there and note the sensation for ten seconds. Then visualize that sensation spreading to other parts of your body for another ten seconds.

Now shift back to the place where you originally felt stress. If it has changed, focus on the sensation of the change. Continue moving your attention back and forth between what is left of the stress and the relaxed parts of your body. As you shift, notice where stress has lessened and savor the lessening sensation so it can spread to other parts of your body. When you have unpleasant body sensations before or during a job interview, pendulate to the parts of your body where you have pleasant sensations and spend time there to offset the unpleasantness

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