Stage fright? Anxiety? Overcome it the experts way!
By Vikas Malkani, Founder of SoulCentre, www.soulcentre.org
Stage fright can happen long before you even get near a stage. The mere thought of standing in front of an audience can make your heart flutter or pound, the palms of your hand get cold and sweaty, and your knees start to shake and your mouth go dry. Your stomach may even get upset.
Public speaking is one of our most common fears, being rated above flying, financial loss, sickness, and even death. The fear can get so bad that some people may become physically ill before getting on stage.
Often called performance anxiety or stage fright, this fear is actually about exposing oneself to others (or an audience). It happens to ordinary people going for a job interview and even to the most experienced performers . Celebrities like Rod Stewart, Barbara Streisand, Mel Gibson, and Carol Burnett have experienced stage fright. World class speakers like Anthony Robbins and world personalities like Warren Buffet have admitted feeling queasy before their first public performances and many prominent athletes tend to suffer from it as well.
Stage fright is a natural rbut phobic esponse to situations that are perceived to be dangerous or somehow detrimental. Psychologists working with stage fright patients describe how their inner talk tends to focus on only things that could go wrong during the performance leading to a potential failure. Studies have shown that these fears can be driven by perfectionism, an ongoing desire for personal control, fear of failure and an intense anxiety about not being able to perform properly when the time comes. Psychologists have also observed that people with stage fright tend to place a high value on being liked and regarded with high esteem.
Here are 3 ways which will help you overcome your stage fright and performance anxiety -
1) Meditation – Meditation is the science of training your mind to serve you rather than to harm you. Meditation is an ancient process that is scientific and structured and most effective when learned from a qualified and capable teacher. By training your mind, you can overcome the fear that arises out of uncontrolled negative thinking.
Here are some strategies that meditation offers to overcome your anxiety and stage freight. Meditation Strategy 1
Keep Calm – Because of performance anxiety, people often rush through their presentation, speech or other performances. As a result, in spite of knowing everything, they fail to give their best. So keep calm and start slowly. Give yourself time to get used to the audience and get into you comfortable pace.
Meditation Strategy 2
Take Deep Breaths - Be it stress or nervousness, deep breaths can provide you with that feeling of relaxation. So 5-10 minutes prior to going on stage, take deep breaths for about 3 minutes to keep yourself relaxed and calm.
Meditation Strategy 3
Visualization - Visualization techniques can be particularly effective as it creates a positive image in a person's mind about the desired outcome. Mentally creating images of a successful event, and even projecting oneself after the successful performance alleviates feelings of anxiety.
Meditation Strategy 4
Think about it - Visualize yourself on the stage, standing in front of an audience that’s listening, smiling and applauding you. Think about how talented you are, and imagine yourself in past performances where you impressed your audience. Change your point of view and think about how badly the audience needs the information you want to give them.
2) Focus on giving not receiving - Stage fright is not really about the fear of the stage. It is the fear of being laughed at and judged by the people who are watching you.
In reality, everyone present in the audience is not there to laugh at you, judge you or criticise you. They are there to watch you perform and hence you need to give your best shot. So, instead of focusing on the people and what they are going to think about you, focus on what you have to present and do it the best way you can. This will ease the pressure which is already building.
3) Practice, Practice, Practice - One of the most effective ways to deal with stage fright is to get on stage as much as possible, regardless of the discomfort. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Vikas Malkani is a Mind & Life Mastery Coach. Vikas is an authority on meditation and mindfulness and has taught its secrets to CEO’s, Hollywood starts, Royalty and sports champions. He is called the World's #1 Wisdom Coach.
Connect with Vikas at [email protected]