The interview process can be very taxing for candidates. You may find yourself worried about your financial situation when faced with unemployment. The pressure to find a job builds and can ultimately lead to a panic attack. However, what if a panic attack launches at the worst time? Learn how to repress the stress and panic that can creep in during an interview to keep your professionalism in the forefront and increase your chance of landing the job.
Symptoms of a Panic Attack
A panic attack can be scary and triggers both physical and emotional symptoms. You may feel dizzy, your heart may pound and intense nervousness can lead you to believe you are about to faint. Some people have shortness of breath, experience body shakes and begin to sweat profusely. You may even notice your palms are extremely sweaty, which can make for an embarrassing moment when shaking hands with a potential employer. These symptoms may be difficult to control during a job interview if they escalate. You can learn how to repress the symptoms, though, to avoid any uncomfortable encounters with hiring managers.
Breathe in Fresh Air
Panic attacks can make you feel as if your body is out of control, especially when it is hard to breathe. Take back the control with breathing exercises right before or during an interview, recommends therapist Mark Tyrrell with Uncommon Help. Hold your breath for 10 to 15 seconds to reset your breathing to normal. You can subtly do this during an interview to help regain your composure and offset shortness of breath. People often feel as if they cannot breathe because they are breathing out too much air, explains Tyrrell. Holding your breath briefly allows the air to remain in your lungs to regulate your breathing patterns.
Slow down your breathing to repress a panic attack. Breathe deeply in through the nose on a seven-second count and exhale through the nose slowly, taking 11 seconds to release the air. Practice this technique well before the interview so that you can naturally perform breathing exercises while appearing to be tentatively listening during a job interview.
Keep Your Brain Active
When panic attacks, it is common for the brain to become less active. Repress the symptoms of a panic attack by keeping your brain busy. Purposely count backwards in your mind, or think about how you have prepared to answer interview questions. By forcing your brain to work on small tasks, you are sending the message to your unconscious self that this panic attack is not an emergency.
One of the best ways to repress a panic attack is to accept it. Tyrrell suggests using the AWARE method. Begin by Accepting the anxiety, and then Watch the anxiety as if you are observing it. Act normal and carry on as if your body is not being taken over by the symptoms, and Repeat the steps until you begin to feel normal again. The last step is to Expect the best. Positive thinking helps to override the terror you may feel inside. Instead of giving in to worry about how much you are sweating or shaking, tell yourself that you are in control, and the panic should subside quickly.
Know the Process
Panic attacks commonly trigger a feeling of fight or flight. By knowing what is bound to happen, you can prepare yourself quickly to fight the symptoms. Tell yourself that the symptoms are short-term and that you know you are not likely to faint, vomit or even die. Utilize relaxation techniques while thinking positive thoughts. If you need a moment to gather yourself, discreetly ask the interviewer if you can use the restroom quickly to give yourself a bit more time to recover.
Although panic attacks can make you feel as if you are going to be physically sick, if you utilize coping methods such as deep breathing and relaxation techniques, you can quickly minimize the symptoms. A job interview is a stressful experience and can trigger feelings of panic, but if you know that you are in control, then you can repress these feelings and continue to show off your professional demeanor.
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