Expert Guest Blog from Janet Esposito
How do you feel when you step up to speak or perform? Are you nervous? Worried? Panicked? Feeling dread and terror?
If you are like most people, you likely experience some degree of stage fright, as the fear of public speaking is one of the most common fears people report. While some people have only a mild case of the jitters, many others have a much higher level of performance anxiety.
While preparation and practice can do wonders in helping people feel less anxious when stepping up to speak or perform, I have found this is often not enough to quell the higher level fear and anxiety that so many people feel. For these people, more is needed to help calm the Fight or Flight reaction that gets triggered when they perceive speaking or performing to be such a threat.
I find that a holistic approach is most helpful for those who struggle with stage fright. Below are some ideas you may find useful based on the approach I write about in my book, Getting Over Stage Fright: A New Approach to Resolving Your Fear of Public Speaking and Performing.
BODY: Most people feel very worried about people detecting their symptoms of high anxiety when speaking or performing. The good news is that these symptoms are not as detectable as you may think, though they can certainly be very uncomfortable and unpleasant to bear.
Here are some tips to work on easing your physical symptoms:
1. ACCEPT YOUR ANXIOUS FEELINGS and learn to ride the wave when fear arises. Your fear will begin to ease naturally when you don’t fuel it by being afraid of it.
2. BREATHE DEEPLY AND SLOWLY and focus on releasing and relaxing any tension that you are holding in your body.
3. CREATE A BODY POSTURE and facial expression that conveys a relaxed, natural ease and a “Can do” attitude.
MIND: It is important to remember we have a choice in how we think and it is up to us to think in ways that support us rather than undermine us.
Here are some tips to help your mind work for you rather than against you:
1. DIRECT YOUR MIND away from any negative, fear-inducing thoughts and toward more positive, empowering thoughts and images.
2. KEEP A GOOD ATTITUDE throughout this process, no matter how challenging your experience may be.
3. GET PERSPECTIVE on yourself and your situation. Smile and lighten up as you remind yourself you are not giving the State of the Union address nor are you competing in the Olympics.
SPIRIT: Your fear can act as a catalyst for your personal and spiritual growth and lead to many hidden blessings when you approach this challenge in a more conscious and mindful way.
Here are some tips to help you access your spiritual nature:
1. RELAX YOUR NEED FOR CONTROL after doing the prep work. Learn to go with the flow and allow whatever happens to be okay, trusting that things will work out fine.
2. BE A WILLING SPIRIT and let go of any resistance you have to speaking or performing. Do whatever is being asked of you with an open and generous heart.
3. DO NOT MAKE THIS A PROVING GROUND for yourself. Take the focus off yourself, connect deeply with others, and remember, It’s not about you!
Albert Einstein once said, “Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” In order to resolve our fear of public speaking and performing we need to adopt and practice a new approach.
Janet Esposito, M.S.W.
Janet is a bestselling author, coach, and workshop leader with more than a decade of experience in helping people who fear public speaking and performing.
Her first book, In The SpotLight: Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking and Performing, has been an Amazon bestseller for over 6 years. Janet’s second book, Getting Over Stage Fright: A New Approach to Resolving Your Fear of Public Speaking and Performing, offers a new, holistic approach to help you get beyond your speaking or performing fear, whether you have just a mild case of the jitters or a full-blown case of stage fright.
Janet also does phone coaching with people from all over the country and abroad and leads Getting Over Stage Fright Workshops for people to practice the methods she teaches.
To learn more about Janet has to offer, visit www.performanceanxiety.com
Expert Guest Blog from Janet Esposito