Everyone suffers from anxiety at some point or another. Anxiety is a normal part of everyday life. In some stressful situations, anxiety can act as a useful emotion. Other times, anxiety can interfere with our ability to function normally, even if the stressful situation has been manufactured in our minds.


There will always be reasons to feel anxious. All ages experience anxiety. Children experience anxiety at school during difficult lessons or before exams; even young babies feel it when separated from their mothers. And adults, well, we have plenty to feel anxious about be it our jobs, finances, romance, or insecurities of the self.


Sometimes we experience anxiety because we’re forced into something we fear doing. One of the most common fears among us is the fear of public speaking. Many people feel anxious in front of an audience; that’s if we’re a speaker, or just someone being singled out or noticed in a crowd.


Do you have a fear of speaking in public or performing on a stage? If so, you could be suffering from a type of performance anxiety. Do any of the following apply to you? If so, you may have performance anxiety.


  • You worry about looking foolish in front of other people and being laughed at?


  • You worry that people can see how nervous you are?


  • You suffer from stage fright if you have to speak in front of others or perform onstage.


  • You experience anxiety before an event simply from anticipating your fears.


  • You feel immediate and intense fear upon learning that you need to perform in public.


  • You attempt to avoid public performances or fail to show up if you can’t get out of it.


  • You miss out on opportunities because you feel being in the spotlight.


Performance anxiety is all in the mind of the sufferer. After all, not everyone fears going on stage, as there is no danger in doing so. The fears are usually conjured up or imagined, such as the fear that you’re not smart enough or good enough to avoid ridicule. So, in order to overcome performance anxiety the solution is simple; all you have to do is to change your way of thinking.


There are four steps involved in overcoming performance anxiety. Let’s take a look at them:


Step one: Self-Assessment


  • Get to know yourself, both as a person and as a performer.


  • Identify the problem thoughts that are holding you back and creating anxiety.


Step two: Exposure and Preparation


  • Find opportunities for limited performance exposure but not to the point that your anxiety kicks in.


  • Practice your speech or performance. Tape it and play it back. Practice until perfect. Always be prepared before giving your performance so that you feel confident.


  • Learn relaxation techniques and practice them right before your performance.


Step three: The Performance


  • Visualize the audience as friends and family that wish you well.


  • Don’t think of yourself. Think of the audience.


  • Stay calm and enjoy yourself.


  • Step four: After the Performance


  • Don’t criticize yourself no matter what happens.


  • Congratulate yourself for doing your best.


  • Reward yourself for making progress


  • Train yourself to change your thoughts – instead of worrying about what people think, imagine they think good things about you. I know it’s tricky, but you’ll get there eventually. Imagine that you’re confident and thoroughly capable of completing the performance. As you change your thinking, you will see your performance anxiety start to slip away.
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