Anxiety Disorders » Treatment Of Anxiety How To Calm Your Nerves
Treatment Of Anxiety How To Calm Your Nerves
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Stress builds upon stress. The higher your anxiety level leading into your performance, the more quickly it is likely to escalate during your performance. Therefore, use every trick in the book to calm your nervous system beforehand. By helping reduce your performance jitters and panicky feelings, you will begin to feel greater control over your anxiety level. This will help boost your confidence that you can do it—and succeed!
Herbal Darlings: To get a good nights sleep the night before the big day and not wake up groggy, try a mixture of kava, valerian root and passion flower (see Chapter Eight) before going to bed. You may also like to try kava before the performance, to relax you. Gotu kola is another herb that has a mild calming effect and that improves mental alertness as well. You can mix it with gingko biloba, another powerful herb that clears)
Relaxation Exercises: Use progressive relaxation, visualization and meditation (see Chapter 6), to help lower your level of arousal and to keep your symptoms from escalating.
Breathing Exercises: Do your deep breathing exercises. The alternate nostril breathing exercise, recommended in Chapter 11 for aviophobics before taking an airplane, helps to quickly quell those pre-performance butterflies and give you greater stamina during the performance.
Exercise: A good workout the morning of your performance will help drain excess adrenalin and get your energy flowing outwards, as well as boost serotonin, and release endorphins, the feel good chemical, into your bloodstream. Afterwards, you will feel calm, focused, and energized, but not hyper.
Hypnosis: Hypnosis has been effective in helping some people overcome their stage fright, but there are shortcomings. If you are a success, you might attribute it to the hypnosis and not to your own efforts, leaving you with the feeling that you havenot gained control of this problem.
Prescription Drugs: Anti-anxiety drugs help some people control their terror.Valium helped Sir Laurence Olivier eventually conquer his stage fright. Beta-blockers, such as propranolol (Inderal), block the receptors in the heart, muscle, throat, and so on that cause some of the unpleasant sensations associated with stage fright. But as with hypnosis, if you pre-medicate your butterflies away, you run the risk of attributing your success to the drug and to not taking personal credit for overcoming your fear.
Do not rely on prescription drugs to reduce anxiety before a performance or presentation until youve tried them out first and tested your reaction. Though anti-anxiety drugs, like Valium, along with beta-blockers, like Inderal, help relieve stage fright for some, others find these medications unreliable, ineffective, or too sedating.
Stage fright is, like all fright, the sense that somehow we are in danger. Our inner dialogue is telling us things like Im not good enough. People will laugh at me. I cant compete with the other speakers. Thinking is believing, thus the thought alone appears a fait accompli—as good as it having happened.
To rewrite your fear script and talk yourself out of fright, make a list of your destructive thoughts and replace them with constructive ones.
Destructive thought: I will bore these people.
Constructive thought: I wouldnt have been invited to speak if I were boring.
Destructive thought: My mind will go blank.
Constructive thought: If my mind goes blank, Ive got my notes to fall back on.
Destructive thought: Im going to fall flat on my face.
Constructive thought: If I fall, I fall. Even Nureyev fell at times while performing and look how much it harmed his reputation.
Destructive thought: What if my legs start to shake?
Constructive thought: If my legs start to shake, it will pass as I concentrate on my movements and probably no one will know but me.
Destructive thought: Im never going to be able to return his serve.
Constructive thought: Ive returned 90-mile-an-hour serves before and I can do it again.
Destructive thought: Im going to freeze and lose my concentration.
Constructive thought: If I lose my concentration, I will take a few deep breaths and regain it.
A new way to confront performance anxiety is to perform first in virtual reality, in con-trolled doses in computer simulation. You can hear your virtual audience applaud, heckle, and see them walk out—a dress rehearsal for your actual performance.
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