6 Ways to Calm Your Nerves Before a Big Interview

If you’re wringing your hands and sweating bullets, take a deep breath and try one of these easy stress-relievers.

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Address yourself by name.
Like to give yourself a little pep talk in your head before tackling a nerve-wracking task? Try this trick to make it more effective: The Harvard Business Review reports that people who avoided first-person pronouns in these self-talks were calm and confident, as opposed to those who referred to themselves using “I” or “me” (think: “You can do this, Samantha!” instead of “I can do this.”) What’s more, people who used the third-person—and therefore distanced themselves from the task—also spent less time stewing over their performance afterward.

Chew gum.
While you should never walk into an interview blowing bubbles, chewing on something minty fresh right before might help relieve stress (and maybe even make you feel more alert). In a small University of Melbourne study, researchers found that participants reported less anxiety while chewing gum, and their saliva had lower levels of cortisol—the stress hormone. In another study, non-chewers reported much more work-related stress than gum chewers.

Tell someone how excited you are.
Research from the Harvard Business School showed that reframing nervousness into excitement was a “simple, minimal intervention that can be used quickly and easily” to ease your nerves. Instead of discussing how nervous you are for the interview, call a friend and let them know you’re excited about the opportunity.

Snack on something sweet.
Specifically, scientists in Switzerland found that a bar of dark chocolate reduced stress responses in a group of healthy adult men.

Have a cup of tea.
If you’re feeling nervous, a cup of coffee may only increase your heart rate, especially if you’re pre-disposed to an anxiety disorder. Instead, opt for a cup of black tea before your meeting—University College London researchers found that people recovered faster from stressful tasks after sipping on tea. Bonus: A Yale study found that holding onto a hot beverage seems to make us feel safe.

Go for a walk.
Exercise is one of the easiest stress relievers—the Mayo Clinic even calls it “meditation in motion”—but if you’re already sweating from nerves, a run won’t help. Instead, go for a quick walk before your interview to boost endorphins and help you feel more confident.