Breathing Techniques Guaranteed to Calm Your Nerves before a Big Presentation

Giving a presentation is never easy but for those who are born without natural eloquence, it can be especially tough.  This can cause people to feel very tense or anxious right before they present.  This is very common and happens to the best of us.  Unfortunately, this anxiety can add mounds of pressure to someone who has to give an important presentation.  The good news is that there are several breathing techniques that can help you relax, calm your nerves, and help your mind stay focused.  These techniques have been proven to loosen muscles, increase blood flow, and help you to feel more relaxed in stressful situations.

Exercise 1

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Support the weight of your body through your hips and legs without locking your knees.
  3. Relax and release your shoulders.
  4. Be sure to refrain from holding your stomach in and let it go.
  5. Place your hands on your stomach.
  6. Breathe in through your nose as you slowly count to 4. You will feel your diaphragm rising as you inhale.
  7. Breathe out slowly through your mouth as you count to 4. You will feel your diaphragm expanding as you exhale.
  8. Repeat the inhaling and exhaling for three rounds while making sure your entire body remains relaxed.

(TIP: this exercise can also be performed lying on the floor or sitting in a chair.)

Exercise 2

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Support the weight of your body through your hips and legs without locking your knees.
  3. Relax and release your shoulders.
  4. Refrain from holding your stomach in and let it go.
  5. Bring your palms together toward the center of your chest.
  6. Slowly inhale through your nose, keeping your palms together, and raise your arms as high as you can above your head. At the same time, raise yourself on to your toes.
  7. Slowly exhale through your mouth and bring your arms down and round back up to your chest, with your palms together.
  8. At the same time, slowly lower your feet.
  9. Repeat this 10 times.

As you are completing these breathing exercises, you can also use imagery to calm your nerves.  Do this by imagining your breath as a bright, intense color washing through your body and cleansing it of debris.  You can also add imagery by imagining yourself competent, smiling, and confident as the audience enjoys your talk.  Concentrating on imagery as you complete these breathing exercises can make an enormous difference in getting yourself calm and centered.  The benefits of these exercises are immediate both psychologically and physically.  When we are under stress we tighten our muscles and hold on to the tension we feel, so breathing exercises help to release this tension by allowing oxygen to circulate through our bodies.  You can break the cycle of nerves and anxiety by learning good breathing habits.