We know interviews by their very nature are stressful. There are many things you can do to reduce the stress an interview produces. You can prepare the possible questions, dress your best, research the company, and the rest of the interview preparation strategies.
However, there is one more thing you can do. Breathe. Yes, breathe. Not the breathing you are doing right now but breathe from your diaphragm. There is a remarkable relationship between how you breathe and the stress you feel. Put breathing from the diaphragm into your interview preparations.
The ProblemWhen you take fast, shallow breaths from your chest, you reduce the oxygen levels in your blood. This can cause some unpleasant symptoms such as:
- Muscle tension
- Perspiring profusely
- High blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
The BenefitsWhen you breathe from your diaphragm, you use your entire lung. (The diaphragm is below your lungs.) The increased lung function makes the oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange more efficient which provide more oxygen to your blood. The results of more oxygen in your blood will:
- Relax tense muscles
- Reduce stress
- Lower blood pressure
- Clearer thinking
- Lower heart rate
You Did it BeforeYou used to breathe deep down in your abdomen. Everyone did. As a newborn, you breathed from the belly naturally. You may even breathe like that during your sleep. Somehow, you began breathing from your chest. Perhaps it was because you were told to stand up straight with your chest out and stomach in. This posture constricted your abdominal muscles then reduced the depth of your breathing. Tight clothing does the same thing as does slouching when you sit.
But you can relearn to breathe from your diaphragm. In few minutes a day, you can relearn and practice breathing to increase your physical and mental wellbeing. It may feel strange at first, but with continued practice, you can change your breathing at will. You will be able to stop stress in its tracks whenever there is a need.