There is nothing more elegant or more beautiful than a person who is grounded in their body, present in the moment, and confident with their words. Theoretically I am aware of this, and there are divine times when all three qualities line up perfectly for me. But, then there are other times when, for whatever reason, my nerves get the absolute best of me and there I stand, knees jiggling, hands shaking, and an absolute nervous wreck.
A long time ago, when I first started in the fitness industry, I was asked to speak and demonstrate exercises at an event. While speaking, I remember looking at the crowd, immediately feeling my throat close up and breath shorten. I couldn’t look up or get my words out—my voice went up about three notches in pitch. You would have thought I was talking about a traumatic experience, but on the contrary, I was talking about toning your butt. It was ridiculous!
While I was speaking, I could hear these evil thoughts going through my head that sounded like the voice of the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz, telling me how much I was screwing this up and to run for the hills right now! Torture.
I also remember the college experience of a first date I had, where I was so nervous I had to sit on my hands to keep them from shaking. Unable to use my hands and unable to take a sip of my cocktail without spilling all over, I had to lean over the bar to sip through the straw. Fortunately, my date was too self-centered to notice my odd display, and my quirkiness somehow passed as adorably cute.
As I have gotten older and more experienced, my nerves have simmered quite a bit. But, admittedly, there are still times when unforeseen scenarios wake the jitterbugs up. This is why I enlisted the help of Master Energy therapist and colleague Joshua Farahnik, whose clients span New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, to share simple quick tools that tame the mind and body anywhere and anytime.
So in times of nervousness, find a private space, whether it be behind closed office doors, in a bathroom at a restaurant, or in your car (but not while driving!) and try these four tips to keep calm and centered.
With eyes shut, inhale through the nose, and then exhale through the mouth like you're fogging up a mirror. Create slow and deep breaths from the belly. Try to make your exhale longer than your inhale. It helps to count your breath. Try breathing in for a count of four and out for a count of six to eight.
Place your left thumb knuckle on the center of your chest, about three fingers above the base of the breast bone. Place your right thumb knuckle at the midpoint between your eyebrows. Gently massage and apply pressure. Don't forget to take deep breaths while doing it. Try combining exercises one and two at the same time!
With your eyes closed, use your fingers to rapidly tap your upper chest are (at the thymus) for 30 seconds, approximately 50 to 100 times. When finished, take a deep breath in and hold it as long as you can. Exhale by emptying out your breath, and hold the exhale out for as long as you can. Repeat this entire process (including tapping) two more times.
Think about how you want to feel. Do you want to be calm? Empowered? Vibrant? Close your eyes, and visualize yourself just like that. Get specific. What are you wearing? Are you having a good time? Now, as you envision this, take a deep inhale and say to yourself, “I am..” and finish the statement. It could be, “I am beautiful and calm.” Or it could be “I am the person to look at.” Or “I am brilliant with my words.” Whatever it may be, inhale, say the statement to yourself, hold the breath, repeat it again if you’d like, and then release the breath repeating the mantra over and over. Continue for as long as necessary.
Kit Rich is Los Angeles-based fitness trainer with endless exercise and nutritional know-how. Hollywood's hottest stars are addicted to Kit's unique, multi-disciplined approach that combines cardio, yoga, Pilates, and weight training. Kit's clients are immediately taken by her funny and honest approach to health and fitness. She treats her clients as she treats herself, "with a hard challenge, sensibility, sensitively, and a good laugh." Follow Kit on Twitter @kitrichfitness.