Stage fright or performance anxiety is associated with jittery feelings and nervousness during dance performance, public speech, stage acting, recital, and other activities that are required to be performed in front of an audience or before a camera. Stage fright has four main parts: anticipation (expectation of unrealistic images that are mostly negative), avoidance (the strong urge to avoid performing the activity), panic and anxiety (symptoms before doing the activity in public), and appraisal (the period where the performer review how the performance was done).
What is causing it?
Stage fright branches out from different causes, but the most popular is the lack of self-confidence of the performer. Not having enough preparation before the performance and the fear of forgetting lines or making mistakes are also reasons that could trigger anxiety. The most accurate explanation behind stage fright is the fact that it is a physiological reaction. Once the body is exposed to a stimulus, it has two reactions: fear or excitement. This activates adrenaline, which is a body hormone distributed to the body to help deal with the stimulus. Adrenaline supplies energy to the body to cope with the fight or flight stimulus response. Once the adrenaline reaches the blood stream, it causes side effects such as shortness of breath, trembling, shaking, vomiting, and stomach pain.
Symptoms of Stage Fright
The symptoms associated with stage fright are divided into two categories: emotional and physical. Emotion symptoms include feelings of fear or embarrassment of forgetting the lyrics of the song or the line of a speech. Feelings of incompetence to do the task and racing thoughts about negative outcomes are also part of emotional symptoms. Physical symptoms on the other hand, involve dry mouth, nausea, cold hands, fast pulse, nervous tics, trembling lips, shaky knees, and shaky hands.
Overcoming Stage Fright
If you struggle with stage fright, there are many ways on how you can cope up with it. Below are simple regimen that will help you combat this performance anxiety.
Breathing is notorious for alleviating stress. Practice deep breathing by slowly exhaling and inhaling for at least 25 times. You will notice that your body will start to loosen up.
2. Relaxation techniques
You can research several relaxation techniques such as biofeedback and hypnosis. These techniques are one of your best defenses to fight off stress. In fact, there’s an ancient Oriental relaxation technique called Shiatsu massage therapy which utilizes pressure point to eliminate stress.
Practice makes perfect – you can never go wrong by following this golden rule. Performance that are well-practiced improve self-confidence that reduces anxiety and stage, thus completely eliminating stage fright.
4. Stay hydrated
Make it a point to drink water before you go on stage to prevent dry mouth. Just don’t take too much water 30 seconds before your performance since you might rush into the washroom in no time.
Aside from these tips, you can also ask help from a professional trainer to win your battle against stage fright and have a successful and anxiety-free performance.
1st and Featured image from https://pixabay.com/photos/mic-microphone-sound-check-sing-1132528/
2nd image from https://pixabay.com/illustrations/speech-stage-lecture-microphone-1015285/