Performing in front of a large audience can trigger anxiety in even the most confident people. It is natural to experience a little anxiety and excitement prior to performing on stage. However, when anxiety causes trembling, nausea, a racing heartbeat, or blurred vision, it is time to seek help. Here are some traditional and alternative ways to overcome music performance anxiety.
How to Prepare
Doctors and therapists recommend avoiding caffeine, getting a good night’s rest, and eating a healthy meal prior to a performance. Other techniques like meditation and deep breathing exercises can be helpful as well. Some performers find that watching a comedy or doing something that makes you laugh, can help to clear the mind and release fear. Jumping up and down, exercising, or taking a walk can also help release anxiety.
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How you think and feel impacts your performance. Instead of focusing on what might go wrong, imagine the excitement and joy the audience will experience during your performance. Smile and connect with your audience as you take the focus away from yourself. Remember that the people in attendance are responding enthusiastically and want you to be a success.
When traditional methods fail, hypnosis can help performers overcome anxiety. Hypnosis is a natural way to release fear and perform confidently. Contrary to how it is portrayed in movies, hypnotic trance is not a form of mind control. Rather it is a relaxed state of heightened awareness where the unconscious mind can be programmed for positive change. Patients remain aware of their surroundings and in control. Hypnotic suggestions are then given to the unconscious mind to promote confidence and relaxation while on stage.
Quite often performance anxiety is triggered by a past experience. A difficult memory of being picked to answer a question in school, or to read a book report out loud, are examples of sensitizing events that can cause public speaking or performance anxiety. Once in a hypnotic trance, the sensitizing event can be uncovered and more importantly let go. Once reframed, the automatic fear response related to performing is eliminated.
Patients are guided into hypnotic trance by a combination of deep breathing, overload, guided imagery, and confusion techniques. Clients often report feeling relaxed but may also experience time distortion, tingling, and numbness, as well as a heavy feeling in the body. Patients are not asleep and are active participants in the process. Many clients emerge feeling rested and refreshed.
Regardless of the type of performer, anxiety can be debilitating. Whether you freeze up on stage or find it difficult to relax or sleep prior to a show, hypnotherapy can be a natural solution. Performers are meant to enjoy sharing their gifts with others. Bring the joy back into your performance by utilizing traditional and alternative options to overcome stage fright.