When you're stressed or nervous, your heart pounds, you sweat, you stumble over your words. But there are ways to short-circuit your body's response in these situations. o Let's say you have an important meeting first thing in the morning, a presentation, or an exam. Skip the Starbucks. British researchers found that caffeine causes people to feel less confident in their ability to perform well during a stressful situation. People who consumed 200 milligrams of caffeine were less relaxed when speaking and less effective at assignments. Just so you know, a small cup from Starbucks has 250 milligrams of caffeine, more than in a No-Doz. So what's the solution: Drink peppermint tea. The scent helps you focus and boosts performance. That comes from Wheeling Jesuit University. And if you need your caffeine, this is a more manageable dose. About half of what you'd get in a cup of coffee. o The next stressful situation: You have to go to a party alone. Well, according to Dr. Nicholas DeMartinis, a psychiatrist at the University of Connecticut, unfamiliar situations can send even the biggest extrovert into a corner. But the longer you stay in one position, the more shy you become. The solution: Move and mingle. Thinking about how anxious you are only makes you more anxious! But having a conversation sidetracks those feelings - it makes them hard to focus on. So dive in and talk to people. And move around the room. Movement dispels nervous energy. o One last stressful situation: You have to give a presentation or a speech. Here's a fact: an audience can detect only 11% of a speaker's anxiety. That's according to research from Texas Christian University. If people can see your emotions - through shaky hands or a quivering voice, that's when they can detect your nerves. The solution: Fake it. Wear your best clothes, stand tall, pull your shoulders back. Sports psychologist Patrick Cohn says if you act confident on the outside, it'll filter back to the inside.