Even the most seasoned performers can experience that internal sense of terror that makes a visit right before a big show. It can feel like your stomach is uncomfortably nestled in your throat or make your palms so sweaty you wouldn’t dare shake anyone’s hand. Yeah, that’s stage fright for you.
The fear of public speaking can be so severe that many individuals have sacrificed important promotions or even ditched class in an effort to avoid addressing an audience. Almost everyone experiences a degree of this anxiety before going on stage, but it’s time to start talking about how to overcome it. It’s time to stop suffering in silence.
What Is Stage Fright?
When we’re experiencing stage fright, our bodies are undergoing a fight or flight response to what it perceives as a dangerous situation, which explains the heart palpitations, sweating, and even hyperventilating. While this is an excellent evolutionary trait to help us react to real threats, it can be pretty inconvenient to deal with this regularly as a performer.
Here are some quick tips you can sneak into your pre-performance routine to kick stage fright and blow your performance out of the water:
Reframe Your Negative Thoughts
Sometimes we can let the negative intrusive thoughts take over and have that lousy energy hanging over you like a storm cloud until it’s time to get on stage. Still, if you stop for a moment and begin to think about all of the things that could go well, as opposed to scrambling to prepare for the worst, you’ll find that it gives you more peace of mind than you imagine.
If you’re contending with high levels of adrenaline, in conjunction with stage fright, adding a stimulant such as coffee into the mix will undoubtedly make things worse. Our advice is to save the triple espresso for the after-party and opt for some relaxing herbal tea instead. Maybe some chamomile to calm your nerves.
Practice Deep Breathing
When you’re in stage fright mode, your body will naturally cause you to breathe faster, which may exacerbate your feeling of panic. Instead, take a moment to yourself so that you can regulate your breathing and heartbeat by taking slower, deeper breaths. Inhale through your nose, and exhale through your lips. Make it so that your exhale is longer than your inhale as well. This exercise will help soothe your nervous system.
Greet And Build A Connection With Your Audience
When you’re finally up on that stage, or even if you get the chance to beforehand, greet your audience warmly and express your excitement to be there and put on a good show. Maybe even thank them for coming out to support you. This will not only soften the audience but remind you that you’re there to enjoy yourself too.
Visualize Your Performance Going Well
The act of visualizing a situation before it happens in a positive light is called positive visualization. This technique will psychologically help you perform better because you’ll subconsciously put more effort into having one. Sometimes, when we catastrophize a situation, we become sluggish and negative and become our own self-fulfilled prophecies.
Project Confidence Instead Of Nervousness
Both positivity and negativity can extend outwards and affect the people around you. If you’re performing with more than just yourself, you’re going to want to project the utmost confidence in yourself and your bandmates. Not only will this make you feel better, but it’ll also help your bandmates feed off of your positive vibes and incorporate them into your collective performance.