Human beings are social animals and we are wired to worry about reputation. Speaking or performing in public can threaten that. It activates the fight or flight mechanism, which is wired into our minds through millions of years. That is why it becomes hard to control and we feel nervous. Here are some of the best ways to deal with performance anxiety.
When you climb the stage or a public platform, always remember to smile. Something as simple as smiling can help you deal with performance anxiety. It helps you ease out the tension and feel positive about yourself. Smiling induces confidence in your body and helps you relax.
Stretching before going on a stage can help you maintain good body language, and help you overcome stage fright. Let your body loose, never be stiff on a stage. Try to be comfortable and maintain a good posture. Use your body as you communicate with hand gestures, but don’t overdo it. It helps you better adapt to the situation rather than be nervous and out of breath.
Make sure that you’re not hungry or thirsty before you perform. A good way to ensure that is to carry your own water bottle. Never go to the stage hungry, have a light snack, or at least a glass of water before you go. Also, don’t eat anything that has a tendency to dry your mouth. The last thing you want while speaking on a stage is dry lips and shaking voice, so, try to avoid that. Don’t overdo it of course, but make sure your body is ready to deal with your performance anxiety.
Goes without saying, but practice a lot. Practicing something over and over creates familiarity with it and reduces anxiety, so there is less chance to mess it up. It creates a sense confidence. Stage fright usually hits the hardest at the last minute, so take that time to relax and compose yourself.
Deep breathing is a myth, it makes you even more nervous. Deep breathing before climbing the stage is a cliche, it doesn’t really work. Often, when you climb up the stage, you run out of breath because of the imbalance you just caused. Instead, take a deep breath and release it as slow as you can. Feel the tension leaving your body with every breath. Focus on how possibly slow can air move out of your body.
Even if you are nervous, don’t let it show. Whatever is going on inside of you, don’t let it show. It doesn’t mean you have to sound overconfident or anything. Just don’t let them see how nervous you are. Keep your eyes relaxed and loose. In my personal experience, I’ve gathered that most of the tension is stored in your eyes and the temple. So, loosen up. It is one of the best ways to deal with performance anxiety.
engage with the audience
Look directly at who your audience is, it will feel uneasy at first but you’ll adapt pretty quickly. We don’t overcome stage fright, we adapt to it. Don’t roll your eyes or stare at the ceiling, be calm. Whatever you’re doing or saying, address your audience directly to engage them with your performance.
If you think about it, excitement and nervousness are the exact same feelings. When you’re excited, you’re heart beats faster,