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Top Twelve Tips for Overcoming Stage Fright
Stage freight can be debilitating for many people. The actual experience of standing up in front of a crowd of people can be so stressful that many of us have panic attacks, heart palpitations, or even all out-flight responses. We try to disappear and run away from. Public speaking is often listed as the number one fear in the world, over the fear of death even. Below are some tools to implement in case you find yourself in the experience of having to speak in front of a group of people. Besides imagining that they’re all naked in the audience as you look out at them, these suggestions can be super helpful.
1) Stretch – Elongate and open up your muscles, especially back and shoulders. This will increase your blood flow help relax your whole body.
2) Breathe - Take several rapid breathes, like the Kundalini breath of fire, followed by several deep and slow expansive breaths. This will calm your mind and regulate your heart rate.
3) Jumping Jacks - Our minds often loop with catastrophic and worrisome feelings. Doing ten jumping jacks will pause all that crazy thinking.
4) Connect - When you walk onto the stage take a moment to pause and simply stop. Look directly out to the audience and look people directly in the eye. If you're acting in a live play, do this with your fellow actors. See them. Don't look past them...look into them.
5) Smile - Even if you fake a smile, this will send "happy" hormones through your body.
6) Laugh - Making the choice to laugh, even when there is nothing funny to laugh at, can create a chemical flood of "happy" hormones through your body and flush out stress.
7) Notice - Take a look around your environment and then close your eyes. Call out as many things that you noticed and "see" what's around you inside your mind. Notice the smells, people, colors, etc. all around you. List them. Notice the floor, then the smell of the space, then the most prominent color, then a sound...move from one awareness to another.
8) Balance - This process is super helpful for all those people who get stuck in their heads. Do a yoga pose that requires you to balance on one leg or balance something on a finger like a dowel or basketball. Creating balance in this way will help to focus you in the moment.
9) Funny Face - Stretch your face, open your mouth as wide as possible, open your eyes as wide as possible...then close and tighten your whole face as tight as possible. This can help relax your jaw and forehead and release tension.
10) Remember - The audience is there to see you succeed. They want you to succeed! Just be you!
11) Imagine – Take a moment before you speak and think about the word, “Peace”. What is the color and texture of that word? Maybe it is bright yellow and soft? Think about speaking in that brightness. Feel the warm yellow, like a sun as it relaxes your jaw muscles and forehead. Ask yourself to know Peace and to let it express itself through your body, words, thoughts, and actions. Visualize yourself walking onto the stage and doing your presentation in this understanding.
12) Never Forget - You are a gift to the world, exactly as you are! Come from that place and speak your Truth.
By practicing these exercises, you will develop a confidence for speaking in front of others and even learn to value yourself, your voice, and your experience. You got this!