5 Tips to stay positive and overcome anxiety while searching for a job

5 Tips to stay positive and overcome anxiety while searching for a job

This article provides the best ways to stay positive and motivated during the job search. It will help you put things into the right perspective, and maintain an optimistic outlook despite rejections.

While applying for jobs, the mind often gets clouded by thoughts like – will I get shortlisted? Why are the recruiters not responding back? What if I am not selected? When will I make it? so on and so forth. With each opportunity that didn’t work out, the worries increase. And it becomes difficult for some people to dust these unhelpful thoughts off their head. They worry too much and for a long time.

Being stuck in the repetitive cycle of worries is a problem. It leads to increased mental activity that causes restlessness and discomfort. So, if you are finding it difficult to stay positive and motivated while looking for a better opportunity, use the following tips to be optimistic, keep your sanity and remain hopeful while job hunting.


1. Think like a thermometer – in degrees, not extremes.


The labels and categories exist only in the mind. Neither people nor life situations are often that cut and dried. So, avoid thinking in extremes to stay positive during a job search.

Thinking in the boundaries of labels like ‘good’ ‘bad’ ‘success’ ‘failure’ ‘unfortunate’ ‘unpleasant’ etc usually results in stress and anxiety, especially when you are finding a job. A better approach, therefore, is to stop labelling the circumstances and allow two seeming opposites to exist together.

Replace the faulty thinking approaches like ‘All-or-Nothing’ ‘Either/Or’ thinking with the ‘Both–And’ reasoning skills.

For example, you can take a career break once or twice, and you can have a successful career. Similarly, you can consider your career as perfect and strive to change it in specific ways.

The habit of thinking in degrees will enable you to perceive the reality and circumstances in a healthy and balanced way. It will not lead you to extreme emotional responses. Consequently, you will experience more control over your state of mind and you will become more optimistic and hopeful towards the future.


2. Remind yourself that feelings are not facts.


A lot of people consider their feelings as real hard evidence of the way things are. But, relying too heavily on feelings and considering them as a guide often results in undesirable consequences.

So, if you want to keep your spirits high while finding a job, do not jump to any conclusion without validating your assumptions.

Balance your emotional reasoning,

For instance, if you encounter rejections and feel that things are not going as expected, do not draw global conclusions from a few rejections. You may become anxious, and subsequently, accept a job offer that does not excite you enough.

Instead, when you are feeling low, remind yourself that your unresourceful feelings may not be necessarily true.

 After all, who knows? Maybe you will land a job sooner than you expect you will!


3. Steer your attention towards what you can do


Stop fretting and think of the things you can do to shine in this situation. Search for alternatives to address any potential problems when you find yourself ruminating about depressing thoughts.

Usually, job applicants check their email inboxes every few hours in anticipation of a response from the recruiters. But a lot of recruiters and companies never get back to their applicants. Thus, job seekers are constantly faced with the fear of the unknown and uncertainty.

In any job search scenario, you don’t know who your competition is, who all are in the running for that opening, why you weren’t called in for an interview, or if you had an interview, why you didn’t get the offer. And over time, the feelings of helplessness, and disappointment start creeping in.

A better option, therefore, is to not wait for a response and create a counterbalance by directing your attention elsewhere. For example, follow market research, analysis and trend forecasts to sidetrack from worrying. Or take up things you used to do and would like to start doing again.

Be occupied with purposeful and interesting projects and activities to make your body and mind busy with something outside yourself, or engage in tasks where you will realize tangible results almost immediately.

4. Accept that the world doesn’t play to your rules


Recognise that not everything will go as per the rules, or conditions you want to enforce.

A bitter truth you must deal with while applying for jobs is that you might not get every job you go for. No matter how exceptionally talented or experienced you already are, a 100 per cent certainty of getting every job you apply for is exceptionally rare.

Only the person who suits the job description the most will be hired or maybe not. 

The company could have already identified the candidate they will recruit or transfer internally, and the opening you see on their careers page is just a fall back option to look for a new candidate in case the selected candidate drops out.  

Other than this, a lot of times the talent acquisition team updates a vacancy on their career portal as per the company’s hiring policy without knowing that the management has no real intention of hiring someone for that particular vacant position. 

So, retain your standards, ideals, and preferences, but ditch your rigid demands about how you, others, and the world ‘have to’ be. Accept and let go of the things you have no control over. Do this the sooner the better. Your anxiety over job search will subside.


5. Consider yourself as a work-in-progress


In other words, hold a flexible attitude towards yourself. And keep taking small yet significant steps for improvement.

While searching for a job search, a lot of people are hard on themselves. They catastrophize every rejection and thus become vulnerable to experiencing emotional disturbance.

People who do not judge themselves harshly, on the other hand, know that they always have the chance to improve.

So, allow yourself to be a work in progress and resolve to do things differently next time.

Learn from your mistakes, and forgive yourself for making them.

Most importantly, strive to improve yourself so that you keep acting consistently with how you like things to be.



How to overcome the fear of presenting at work

How to overcome the fear of presenting at work

This article outlines the essential steps and thinking strategies to overcome fear of presenting at work so that you give presentations with comfort and ease at workplace. In essence, this article will guide you to see presentation as a non-threatening event, overcome stage fear, and become comfortable with the thought of presenting at workplace. 

3 Steps to overcome fear of presenting at work

As part of the work, managers often make presentations to groups of various sizes. However, a lot of executives and managers suffer considerable discomfort at the thought of giving presentations. They do not know the effective steps to get rid of the stage fear. So, here is an article providing the most effective tips, strategies, and steps to overcome the fear of presenting at work.

Listed below are the steps to overcome the fear of presenting, and see yourself as a confident speaker-in-progress 

1: Specify the internal discomfort during presentations. 

2: Identify how you are generating the discomfort. 

3: Change the way you think and behave in order to overcome your fear of presenting at work.

Step – 1: Determine your internal discomfort.

The first step to overcome the fear of presenting at work is to highlight the symptoms that emphasise your stage fright or fear of public speaking. So identify the internal body signs that indicate the presence of such fear in you.

What specific internal body symptoms do you experience as you think about giving presentations at workplace?

For example, the throat constricts, mouth becomes dry, heart beats rise high, legs become numb, or there is tightness in the chest, a sensation of butterflies in the stomach, so on and so forth.

Specify the specific sensation or sensations you experience within you. 

Your answer will help you in identifying how exactly you are experiencing the fear of presenting. So, take some time if you want, and do not move on to the next steps unless you discover the accurate body sensations you experience.

Step – 2: Identify how you are generating the discomfort.

In truth, fear is just a state of mind. So, the second step to overcome the fear of presenting at work is about tracking down where your brain goes and how exactly you are creating the issue.

What happens as you think of giving a presentation? 

Here’s some information on how to unpack the sequence of thoughts and perceptions that leave you in the undesired state of mind-

First, imagine some future time or likely situation in which you need to make an impactful presentation. And specify the physical symptoms that validate the presence of discomfort.   

Now, figure out what first thing lets you know to begin experiencing the discomfort. In other words, find out what exactly happened as you thought of giving the presentation.

For example, did any picture flash in front of your eyes? Was there any specific sound that you heard? Or did you say any words to yourself in your mind?

Now backtrack. Check what happened just before that, and before that. Identify the sequence you used in processing the information? And at each step, become aware of the criteria, comparisons, or associations you used in the process. 

Determine the sequence of what you do inside your head, that gets translated into the fear of presentations.

Here is an example to help you understand this process-

When one of my clients working in a pharmaceutical company in India saw the email mentioning that she will have to present the proposed departmental budget to senior executives in the company, she experienced severe headache.

Just before experiencing the headache, she said to herself sentences like ‘I am not good enough’, ‘I can not do it’, ‘I will be judged’, ‘they can reject me’, ‘they know so much more than me’, ‘what if I make a mistake’, etc.

Prior to that she had felt largely disconnected from the senior executives. Earlier, she heard herself saying ‘this isn’t working’

And just before she heard herself saying ‘this isn’t working’, she saw the picture of her team talking amongst themselves while she was presenting, and had heard them whispering.

How do you create your fear of presenting? 

What do you experience just before you feel uncomfortable? 

How do you know to experience that? What conditions do you satisfy, what criteria do you use, and what assumptions do you make?

As noted above, your answers will help you understand how specifically you are creating your problem. 

Furthermore, it is important to note that whatever responses you get, are not random in any way. They are the consequence of how your mind works. So, do not silence any voices inside your head. They will guide you in tracing the blueprint of your stage fright, and making the required changes in your thinking and behaving.

Step – 3: Change the way you think and behave to overcome your fear of presenting at work.

Now that you are aware of how you are creating your fear, I encourage you to change the elements of your internal experience, and embrace new ways of thinking, feeling and behaving.

strategies to overcome fear of presenting at work

Listed below are 5 strategies that you can use to change your thinking patterns, and overcome the fear of presenting at work. 

Use outcome focussed thinking

To get better the results in your life, it is essential that you use outcome focussed thinking. For this, describe in specific terms the behaviour that you want to exhibit. State it in positive words.

Then, identify the existing resources (thinking patterns, motivation, beliefs, etc) that are helping you to do well in this context. Next, find out the additional resources, skills, and behaviours that you need to put yourself in a better mental state. Lastly, identify how you can best utilise these resources, and commit to some of the things that you can begin doing now.

Eliminate your limiting beliefs to overcome the stage fear

One of the most important things you must do to subside the anxiety for presentations is getting rid of unhelpful beliefs. You must figure out how specifically your thinking is creating limitations, and then adopt the effective ways to change your experience to something more useful.

For this, first identify the specific beliefs that are making you anxious, worried, nervous, concerned, or apprehensive. Then check how valid they are. Are they logical? What evidences do you have? Now, become aware of what you have to lose and gain from continuing to believe in those limiting beliefs. Accordingly, decide what you want to do next to overcome your stage fear. 

Change your perspective to get rid of the fear of public speaking

Learn to look at fear from a new perspective.

For this, make a still image of yourself in the situation where you are afraid of presenting. Then float out of yourself so you can look down and see yourself being afraid. In other words, imagine watching a movie of yourself being afraid of presenting. Stay in the observer position.

As you looking at yourself being afraid, say to yourself ‘that’s ridiculous!’ ‘enough is enough’. Add a little laughter if you want. Further, look at the situation in the context of learning. Identify what you can learn from this experience.

When you can look at this memory in your mind and not be afraid, then you can float back in your body, and then prepare an action plan.

Change the intensity of your emotions

In case you are holding on bad memories, then it’s time to freeze the visual image of the memory in a frame, shrink it, send it away so you can’t see, and let the whiteness literally replaces the memory. Alternately, imagine a brightness knob in your hand. Rotate it to whiten out the frozen frame really quickly.

Do this very very quickly. Repeat this process two or three times to overcome stage fear.

Similarly, you can run the movie of a bad experience backward. That is, see the sights backward, hear the sounds backward, and spin the feelings in your body in the opposite direction to change the intensity of your emotions associated with the memory. Also, the more you do this, the harder it will be for you to remember them.

Ensure that there’s nothing left to be worked upon that is still giving you feelings you don’t want. Very often, just one change makes a huge difference. And sometimes it takes a little extra work to bring the desired changes that you want. Remember that there is nothing wrong in taking a little extra time, as long as you are making progress in the desired direction.

Visualise that you are giving presentations confidently at workplace

To use the technique of visualisation, start by imagining yourself in the future where you have become comfortable and confident at presentations, and you have overcome the fear of presenting at workplace. Then, describe what you are doing, hearing and seeing that tells you that you have overcome the fear of presenting at workplace. Additionally, determine the useful beliefs and values that empowered you to bring about the desired change faster and quicker.

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