“A full 10.7 million people in the United States are currently going through an exhausting job search, and 56% say they’ve experienced anxiety or depression due to their unemployment,” according to Anton Kotelnikov, a mental well-being expert and co-founder of the Afterglow app—a well-being community-based space. A job interview is another anxiety-provoking experience that triggers nerves and stress, prevents you from doing your best and often leads to a loop of bad interviews, rejections and poor mental health.
“Massive layoffs and pay cuts have left millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet, and 65% of the workforce is on the look for new jobs this year,” Kotelnikov told me. “The weight of an exhaustive job search puts job seekers under so much stress, it's no wonder that more than half report suffering from emotional or mental health issues like anxiety or depression. This leads to a never-ending cycle of bad interviews, rejections and poor mental health—making it more and more difficult to land a job.”
Seven Stress-Busting Tips
If you’re trembling at the idea of your upcoming interview, Kotelnikov shared with me seven stress-busting tools to help job seekers manage anxiety and ace the next job interview. He insists that these seven easy anti-anxiety tips will have you nail your next interview and earn that dream job in no time.
Kotelnikov suggests you try this breathing technique to instantly stabilize your emotions before an interview:
1. Roll the sides of your tongue upwards into a tube or a taco.
2. Stick the end of your tongue in between your pursed lips.
3. Inhale through the tube as if you were sipping air through a straw.
4. Close your mouth and exhale slowly through your nose.
He says that some people find the 4-7-8 breathing effective. For this technique, breathe in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7, and exhale slowly for 8. Repeat until you feel calmer.
2. Write it out
Kotelnikov recommends that you have a cheat sheet with you and list all of your accomplishments and expertise that are sure to catch their attention and why you would be perfect for the job. Write them down by hand instead of typing them. Handwriting engages several brain areas and helps you retain information better, he explains. While your note will definitely be reassuring, knowing precisely what to say further boosts your confidence during your interview.
3. Talk it out
Chat with your pal before the interview. Studies have shown that talking to someone you trust has therapeutic benefits, Kotelnikov notes, and it can lower stress levels, boost immunity and reduce physical and emotional distress. Not to mention, he adds, you'll get some much-needed encouragement and feedback from your friend.
4. Pump it
“Now don't go leaping all around the room,” Kotelnikov warns, “but if that's your thing, go for it.” Plus, squeezing in some jumping jacks will instantly give you some much-needed endorphins and reduce that anxiety,” he explains. “As a bonus, you'll also get an energy boost (and a few minutes of your mind off the dreaded interview).”
5. Sip it
“The last thing you want is to be revved up on caffeine during the interview and do something stupid like ramble on and on,” Kotelnikov says. “So ditch the coffee and pour yourself a cup of chamomile tea. According to studies, chamomile can help calm your nerves and promote relaxation, which will come in handy during an interview.”
6. Touch it
Touch can deactivate regions of the brain that are active when you're anticipating a stressful event. Kotelnikov believes putting your hands under running water and alternating between warm and cold water every 30 seconds should do the trick. He suggests acupressure as another option: gently apply pressure on a point between your thumb and index finger on each hand (called the LI-4 point) for stress relief.
7. Count it
This simple yet very effective grounding technique can help calm you and give you a sense of control when you're overcome with anxiety. Kotelnikov explains how it works:
- Five. Name five things you see around you.
- Four. Name four things you can touch.
- Three. Name three things you can hear.
- Two. Note two things you can smell.
- One. Notice something you can taste inside your mouth.
“’Wow, I love going through a ton of interviews,’—said no job seeker ever,” Kotelnikov explains. “The search is exhausting and often feels endless, however, it doesn’t have to be. Looking for a new job is a fantastic opportunity to reevaluate your goals and passions, think of what inspires you and find something that would not only see you through the financial turbulence but open that new exciting chapter of your life. And once you’re ready to move on, these tips will help you calm your nerves and ace that interview.”