Picture this. You’re standing in a giant tiered auditorium ready to make your presentation. You have 10 foot high screens on either side of you projecting your picture to the audience. There are thousands of strangers in the audience. But, there are also people who you have to impress in order to keep your job. Most people would get really, really nervous in this situation.
I’ve been an adult teacher for many years now. Presentation Skills is one of the classes that I teach. And, stress is one of the critical things that presenters need to overcome. Stress is a part of everyday life.
One of the most effective ways to reduce stress when you’re in a stressful situation is to deep breathe. It’s physically impossible to be anxious when you deep breathe. Try breathing in for two counts and breathing out for four. Now trying breathing in for three counts and breathing out for six counts. The audience will think that you are taking a pause in the presentation and think nothing of it. And, you will be able to calm down. It’s very effective.
Think on this. What would you do before you walked onto the stage? What would you do to reduce the stress that you KNOW that you are going to experience? That’s where journaling is extremely effective. Without filtering anything, write or type everything this is on your mind. You should spend about 10 minutes doing this. It’s called freewriting. I am continually amazed at what appears on the paper. And it does wonders in reducing my stress. Let me tell you how I do this.
Everyone should be having a morning quiet time with God. This is a time when we quietly listen, we praise God, we talk about our day, we pray for others, and we pray for ourselves. In addition, I’ve added journaling to this routine. Here’s what I do.
We have a golden retriever. I get the opportunity to walk her for abut one mile two times a day. It’s a quiet time when I get to talk with God or to just be quiet with my thoughts. When I get home, I write. I don’t filter anything. I may write one idea a couple of times. I may jump around with my ideas. There are partial thoughts. And, bad spelling and grammar abound! I spend about 10 minutes writing about whatever I am thinking about. It works great. And, it will work for you too,
This is not the same thing as creating a prayer journal where you are writing down of the things that you are praying for. And, you are writing down how God is answering them. Prayer journals are really effective during those times when you get depressed. We all have those times. And, during those times, reading about how God has answered your prayers is really helpful.
The key point here is that there are things that you can do WHEN you get stressed: like deep breathing. But, there are things that you can do BEFORE you get stressed: like freewriting and prayer journals.
What tips and tricks do you have for reducing stress?