10 little-known ways to quell performance anxiety

Prepping for an on-air interview or a live presentation? The adrenaline rush can do more than charge you up; it can also spike feelings of apprehension. Try these soothing tactics.

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I went to CNN’s AC 360 to shoot a segment on body language before the Republican debate.

With that anticipation came adrenaline, and with that adrenaline rush came feelings of anxiety. So, I was heartened to see in the research literature new ways to reduce anxiety. I couldn’t do all these, so I stuck to my tried and true ways of reducing anxiety—breathing exercises, positive imaging, mantras, and so on.

Here are 10 mostly new ways that research says can reduce those pesky feelings of dread. I’ll experiment with a few. Which ones will you try?

1. Amp up your empathy. Anxiety increases your feelings of isolation, so consciously being more sensitive to others may help you feel better. It’s a minor play on the idea of “doing good because it makes you a better person.”

2. Be kind. Even better than empathy is performing a small act of kindness. When I read about this one, I resolved to be extra kind to the coffee servers, the flight attendants, and the drivers, not to mention my fellow passengers, all the way to NYC. You know what? It seemed to help. At least, I felt a little sunnier than perhaps I otherwise would have.

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