Do your nerves get the better of you in interviews? It doesn't matter how many interviews you have had or how qualified you are for the role; feeling anxious or nervous is a natural and automatic reaction. But, there is a way to control your nerves, and that is through your breath.
May 16, 2022
Do your nerves get the better of you in interviews?
You've done your research, prepped your sales pitch, and feel prepared for the interview, but your adrenaline kicks in on the interview day, and your nerves get the better of you. It doesn't matter how many interviews you have had or how qualified you are for the role; feeling anxious or nervous is a natural and automatic reaction.
But, there is a way to control your nerves, and that is through your breath.
Breath control isn't a fad; Yogis have been using breath work (also known as pranayama) to calm and override the nervous system for 1000s of years. In more recent years, using the breath has become mainstream with the likes of Iceman - WimHof Breathing Method to tap into human superpowers to withstand extremes or blogger Stuart Sandeman Breathpod, posting daily breathwork exercises to help people slow the heart rate and feel calmer.
Breathwork isn't complicated, and it works even in a short space of time.
A simple breathing exercise to control your nerves
The 4 x 4 Breath (known as the Box Breath)
What is it? The box breath is four equal breaths consisting of inhaling for the count of 4, holding the breath for a count of 4, exhaling for the count of 4, and holding the breath for a count of 4 (that is one round). Repeat this for ten rounds or until the heart rate has slowed and you feel a greater sense of peace. Once you have this, try longer counts but make sure the breaths and pauses are equal, e.g. 5,5,5,5 or 6,6,6,6.
Why it works: Holding the breath in between inhales and exhales (known in yoga as a Kumbhaka) slows the heart rate, which in terms calms the nervous system taking you out of the "fight, flight, freeze" response into "rest and digest."
Contradictions: never exert yourself holding your breath; if this means going back to 4 breaths, you don't want to cause more stress to the body. If you are pregnant, do not do this breath. You never want to hold your breath and stop oxygen from getting to the baby. If you are pregnant, inhaling and slow exhaling (doubling the exhale) is also an effective way of slowing down the heart rate.
Combine this with a Yoga pose for ultimate interview "power"!
Known as the Power Pose, this pose is the ultimate pose for making a stand and feeling powerful. Stand up tall, lifting your arms above your head 60 degrees in a 'Y' shape; this activates what psychologists call the behavioural approach system, which increases our feelings of strength and decreases feelings of fear. Hold the posture for 2-5 minutes whilst breathing for best results.
You got this. Good luck!