Stage fright can be one of the worst conditions you may ever find yourself dealing with in life. Stage fright, also known as performance anxiety, is the fear of rejection when dealing with an uncomfortable situation or surrounding, often public speaking or acting. In high school I was a public speaking competitor in many competitions and this was something that I dealt with often. Nothing is worse than the fear of standing up in front of an audience and forgetting your lines, stuttering your words, or just plain having too much anxiety to speak. Luckily there are several ways that you can deal with this condition. Here are some great tips for conquering stage fright like a pro.
Practice– The best way that I calmed my fears of public speaking was practice. Know what you’re doing front to back and have confidence in what you’re saying. I practiced for hours each day and the end result was usually a smooth presentation that had very few errors, if any at all.
Limit Caffeine– If you are having performance anxieties one of the worst things you can do is add a stimulant like caffeine or sugar to the mix. Eating a healthy meal a few hours before you are scheduled to go on will make sure you have energy and your blood sugar is stable. Adding caffeine could lead you to stumble over your words or make your mind race, causing you to forget what you were about to say.
Distract Your Mind– If you are suffering from stage fright you are probably over thinking every move you will make. Relax and spend a small amount of time relaxing listening to music, reading, or drawing and you’ll be feeling better before you know it.
See Your Success– Instead of thinking about the thousands of things that could go wrong, visualize your goals and what will be achieved by your accomplishment. Everything going wrong is a possibility but not a probability.
Controlled Breathing– For a better hold on your anxiety try controlled breathing techniques that will help you relax. Monitor your heart beat and breath deep to help control your internal anxieties. Start practicing these days or weeks before your performance to maximize the control you can achieve.
Exercise– Another great option I used a lot to control my fears was to exercise. This had the trifecta effect of releasing endorphins, distracting me, and calming me down before I had to perform. Taking a walk, stretching, or playing an easy sport are all great options for lessening your nerves.
Be Yourself– Being yourself is always better than giving off a fake persona. Creating a false identity requires the pressure of sticking to the way that personality speaks and acts for your entire performance, adding to the load of things to worry about. Being confident and acting natural will keep things flowing smoothly.
Embrace It– One of the things that I struggled with but finally enjoyed most of all way expecting and even loving the anxiety. There’s nothing better than to accept your situation and to get excited by the options you have. Once you learn to accept stage fright you can use it to your advantage as an energy amp up and motivator.
Smile– The crowd will be watching your emotions while you perform and one of the worst things is when your face doesn’t match what you’re saying. Smiling will show the audience you are confident and speaking with a purpose.
Picture the Audience Naked– This may have started as a joke many years ago but in all reality it does help distract you from anxieties while on stage. You don’t necessarily have to picture the audience naked but finding something humorous to think about will always lessen the tension and make you feel more comfortable with the crowd.
Use these tips to be the best in your next performance in front of a small or large crowd. Remember that everyone, even the most famous actors and singers, get stage fright from time to time. By incorporating these tips into your performance you’ll have control over your fears in no time.
WebMD- Overcoming Performance Anxiety in Music, Acting, Sports & More