Whether you perform in front of people for Business, Stage or TV, you will know that stage fright or performance anxiety is a debilitating fear that will negatively impact the quality of your performance. Even if you have been performing or giving presentations for years, nerves can suddenly kick in, and sabotage the situation – and your enjoyment.
Feeling nervous is a useful, and normal reaction to giving a performance. As the adrenaline pumps through our bodies, we can feel ‘butterflies’, sweaty palms, shortness of breath, and palpitations, or sometimes we will just ‘freeze’, or get ‘mental blocks’. These are all symptoms that show us that we have activated our fight or flight response. However, when we are experiencing stage fright or performance anxiety, we can very quickly move into a place where we don’t feel in control. Just as you are about to perform, your mind may negatively forecast that things will go terribly wrong, and so it continues to sustain the fight or flight response to try to force you to avoid the situation and run away, or stay and fight. But that doesn’t feel so great, does it? Especially when the pressure is on and we have to continue standing there for the next half an hour…The fight or flight response has been with us since primitive man and in all fairness, has served the human race pretty effectively, but it’s unhelpful when it gets out of control and comes between you and enjoying your next performance.