You step into your potential boss's office for a job interview and. . .boom! Nerve cells in your brain trigger a flood of chemicals such as dopamine.
Hope you skipped that supersize latteÃ¢â‚¬”you don't need any extra stimulation. Your brain has jolted you into fight-or-flight mode, causing the adrenal glands to unleash adrenaline and cortisol.
Meanwhile, that neurological storm could be drowning out your brain's higher-thought center. You suddenly can't recall the witty repartee you practiced and might find yourself rambling, or worse, laughing at nothing funny.
Heart and Lungs
Adrenaline hits your ticker, increasing your heart rate.
A racing heart needs extra oxygen. Your lungs reflexively go into overdrive. If you don't feed them long, slow breaths, you may become light-headed.
Your muscles, including those around your vocal cords, tense up. Your voice may tremble, and your hands may shake (if they do, keep them clasped in your lap).
Given the internal ruckus, your body starts to sweat. But it's a cold sweat, since blood is being diverted away from the skin in favor of keeping those muscles steady. Hellooo, clammy hands or weirdly pale face. Prevent the latter by dusting on a little extra bronzer beforehand.
To conserve energy, your body slows down your digestive system, including the salivary glands. Your mouth might feel bone-dry.
Your stress response jump-started your urinary system. Words to the wise: ID the closest looÃ¢â‚¬”and use itÃ¢â‚¬”before the meeting.
Sensing tension, your body deploys extra immune cells, temporarily strengthening your ability to fight injury or infection.
Bolster your defenses even more by scoring lots of shut-eye the week of your big tete-a-tete. Get to your appointment on time (rushing = raised anxiety) and remember to breathe deeply.
Sources: Sian Beilock, Ph.D., The University of Chicago; Jay Campisi, Ph.D., Regis University; Louis Perrott, Ph.D., Peak Performance Consultation, Roanoke, Virginia; Rajita Sinha, Ph.D., director, Yale Stress Center