Performance Anxiety Definition

What is Stage Fright also known as Performance Anxiety? Stage fright, also known as performance anxiety is an intense fear and nervousness of being in front of a group of people. Stage fright is a common feeling that many people experience when they are about to step on stage. This can be a feeling of terror, panic, or even just unease. But it is important to remember that this is simply an instinctive response. It can also be accompanied by more physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, nausea, shaking, and dizziness.

A performance anxiety definition wouldn't be complete without including its sexual form but for the sake of clarity in this article we are only dealing with its non-sexual typologies.

Stage fright is a common form of anxiety that affects many people. It is natural to feel nervous before and during an event, but if the feeling continues long after the event has finished, then it may be a sign that you suffer from performance anxiety.

Some people naturally have this fear and others develop it over time as they progress in their careers. It is not uncommon for actors, athletes, comedians and musicians to experience some degree of stage fright when they are on the verge of performing in front of an audience for the first time or when they have not rehearsed adequately for the show. However they can be feeling this way regardless of experience or preparation.

performance anxiety public speaking

It's not only the performers who suffer from stage fright. The audience also feels it during such an event as they observe this person performing on stage and feel the pressure to applaud or show appreciation of their skills.

Stage fright is a common phenomenon in many different contexts and cultures; it’s one of the most commonly reported anxiety disorders in the United States today.

Performance anxiety can affect anyone at any time. It may be as simple as feeling reluctant to do something new or something you've done beforeHowever, it can also be quite debilitating and lead to panic attacks and other mental health issues.

Performance anxiety can affect your mental health in a number of ways - from making it difficult for you to make decisions or take risks to increasing your chances of developing depression or addiction problems.

Why We Get Stage Fright in the First Place

Stage fright is a very common physical and psychological phenomenon. It can happen to anyone, regardless of their level of experience or confidence.

A few key points about stage fright are that it can be triggered by the environment, by our own thoughts, or a combination of the two. With persistent stage fright the main cause can be negative conditioning which may be caused by past trauma or constant worry and catastrophic thinking.

cause of performance anxiety

Possibly the most common cause for stage fright is the fear of not living up to one's own standards or the standards set by others. In other words, one is afraid that they will not measure up to what they know they are capable of doing and fears being rejected because of it. 

Stage fright is a common issue, and it often starts at a young age.

Stage fright can be a physiological response to stress that affects the body’s autonomic nervous system. The fight-or-flight response is triggered by adrenaline which causes our heart rate to increase, blood pressure to rise, and palms to sweat.

Stage fright can also be an emotional response that manifests as high levels of anxiety or fear of certain social situations. This type of stage fright is typically triggered when we anticipate being judged harshly during an event or performance where there are people in the audience who could negatively react to us.

What to Do About Your Performance Anxiety

how to manage stage nerves

Performance anxiety is a common phenomenon. The body releases adrenaline before a performance, which is the body's way of ensuring that we are prepared to fight or flee from a perceived danger. The adrenaline can also increase your heart rate and make it difficult to breathe or swallow.

The fear of being judged by others often causes people to experience this anxiety. In order to overcome it, individuals must learn how to accept constructive criticism and find ways to combat their self-doubt.

Performance anxiety can be overcome through acceptance, self-compassion, relaxation techniques and positive self talk. This will allow the person experiencing it to gain confidence in their abilities and be able to perform accordingly.

There are several ways that you can overcome stage fright and keep your nerves under control so that you can perform your best on stage every time.

There are certain steps that can be taken to decrease stage anxiety and improve performance.

Some of the most effective ways to beat stage fright is by taking deep breaths, remembering positive experiences, positive self talk, and slowing down.

There are a few options for treatment: cognitive behavioural therapy, psychotherapy, hypnosis, and medications. It is important for these treatments to also include education about stage fright and how to cope with it.

It can be difficult to manage these feelings without professional help. Counselling and mindfulness based therapy can work well for stage fright sufferers but hypnotherapy can be the fastest most effective way of overcoming this issue because it focuses on understanding what triggers the feeling and how to control it without letting it take over one's life.

Tips for Managing Stage Nerves

1.

Recognize the symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks

Anxiety and panic attacks are two of the most common mental health disorders in the United States. They can be quite debilitating, sometimes causing people to have a hard time functioning normally or even going to school or work. However, they can also be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy, prescription medication (if necessary), hypnotherapy and mindfulness practices.

Recognizing the symptoms is important because it will give you an idea of how bad your anxiety might really be and then you can start taking steps to better manage it.

2.

Breath deeply to calm your nerves

It is essential to take deep breaths in order to calm your nerves.

Breathing deeply can be done anytime, anywhere. It does not matter if you are sitting at a desk or out for a run, all it requires is for you to take a deep breath in and blow it out slowly. Always close your mouth and only breathe through your nose, filling up your belly, your lungs and making sure the out-breath is longer than the in-breath. You need to do this for at least five minutes before a performance or during an attack. 

This will cause your heart rate to slow down and you body's natural relaxation response will kick in so that you can feel less stressed.

3.

Visualize your success by picturing the audience enjoying your performance

Visualizing your success before you start any performance can give you a confidence boost. This is especially important for artists.

But the visualization doesn't have to be complicated. It might be as simple as imagining your audience enjoying a performance.

That's because it can help you feel connected to your message and to the audience and also make sure that you're are in the present and grounded rather than lost in thought and disconnected.  

4.

Give yourself a pep talk before going on stage

A pep talk is a motivational speech to give oneself before going on stage. It can be done alone or in front of a group, and are usually designed to give the speaker confidence and assurance in their abilities.

We all know that public speaking is a difficult thing to do. However, with some practice it becomes easier for us to get up on stage confidently. The best way for us to become better at public speaking is by giving ourselves a pep talk before we go on stage. This does not have to be cheesy. Just imagine you are trying to convince a child you deeply love that they are good enough and that you believe in them. 

5.

Try medication if it's available, but only if it's safe for you

While medication isn't the best solution to treat stress, it can be effective if it's available and safe for you.

Medication is a controversial topic in the world of mental health. While some people swear by medication, others might not have a choice but to take it because of their condition. The decision is ultimately up to the person with the anxiety disorder. In my experience however, beta blockers, however effective can disconnect you emotionally from the content of your performance. I would caution against using them over a long period of time. 

 

How to Overcome Persistent Stage Nerves


If the above techniques don't work it may be that you need deeper work. With persistent stage fright it is very likely that you are being triggered into fight or flight mode by an emotional tag that signals to your amygdala that you are in 'danger' every time you are in a situation that remotely resembles the original sensitising event. 

In other words, if you have excessive fear of rejection this is most likely caused by past events that have been catalogued by the alarm centre of your brain (the amygdala) as dangerous. In order to deal with these memories hypnosis is necessary.

The other possibility is that you have been conditioning yourself to tag performance situations as dangerous through an overactive use of negative of your imagination. This happens when you spend a lot of time worrying about what could go wrong and imagining it in detail. 

This type of negative mental rehearsal effectively tells your brain that performances are dangerous and should be avoided.

Give Your Best Performance with Hypnosis for Stage Fright

Hypnotherapy is one of the most successful techniques to get to the bottom of performance anxiety quickly.

This is because instead of staying at the surface level of our rational analytical left brain it taps into our subconscious and deals with the issue at its source. 

  • Hypnosis can help you deal with the hidden causes of your performance anxiety at the subconscious level 
  • Hypnosis can help you replace your negative conditioning with positive conditioning
  • Hypnosis can help you defuse and prevent a panic attack more effectively

Struggling with Anxiety?

Based on my bestselling book "Dare to Be Seen" this online course will help you deal with anxiety fast and effectively.


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