The One Exercise That Beats Anxiety

Dacy Knight

Anxiety can prevent you from achieving things you want, living a healthy life, and being yourself. If you suffer from social anxiety, especially when confronted with situations where you have to speak in front of a group of people, there's one exercise a former FBI agent promises will help you through.

Joe Navarro, author of What Every BODY Is Saying: An Ex–FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People, presents a three-step strategy for overcoming your anxiety: Declare to yourself that you're anxious, declare to your audience that you're anxious, and adapt your nervous behaviors.

Navarro notes that the first step will be the hardest, but acknowledging your own nervousness will help alleviate the tension. It's natural to feel nervous in certain social situations—when you're meeting someone new, when you're being interviewed for a job, or when you're giving a presentation. Allowing yourself that nervousness, and even communicating it to your audience (a lighthearted comment will suffice), will help you relax. As far as your nervous tics, Navarro recommends to just slow your motions, or try to engage with them out of sight. If your hands keep touching your hair, keep them under the table and instead tap your leg.

"We mustn't assume that life is supposed to be without any kind of stress," Navarro underscores to Inc. The biggest part of overcoming visible nervousness is simply recognizing that it's natural and it's happening.

Have your own tips for how you manage anxiety? Share them with us in the comments.

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