Imagine, you’re sitting in a classroom filled with people while taking a very important exam. You’ve been dreading this since the first time the lecturer mentioned it. After all these online lessons and tests, staying safe in your bedroom, you are now in a giant hall taking an exam you can only fail once. You feel sweat dripping down your body. You put your name on the paper- okay - first question… you don’t know the answer. You’ve blacked out because of stress.
Stage fright is not only seen in taking tests. Events such as public performances, interviews, playing sports, even an important conversation with your boss can cause trembles in your voice or hands, make you feel sweaty or nauseous. Performance anxiety has negative effects on a person. Self-esteem and self-confidence can severely suffer from this kind of anxiety. But not only that, it can affect someone’s career. If someone is too scared to make a promotion test, this person will stay in the same position for years.
When a person is trying to overcome performance anxiety or stage fright, there are a few options. They must remember that nobody is perfect, and mistakes are human. When a person has a performance anxiety attack, it is important to redirect negative thoughts, but most importantly, negative predictions. These predictions are the worst thought you can have during these kinds of attacks. Your mind goes everywhere, except on your task.
But people who do suffer from performance anxiety attacks can remember these tips to avoid getting too stressed out during their performance:
- Breathe easily, in a way that makes you feel comfortable.
- Do not focus on the things that could go wrong, target your thoughts on when you are finished with this performance. Visualize your success!
- Avoid self-doubt. When this occurs, stop for a few seconds, and focus on things that make you happy and calm.
- Only focus on what you are doing, not what others are doing.
These tips can help you reduce performance anxiety, but for each person it is different. At the BUAS you can sign up for BEST training courses for presenting with confidence for example. It is in the student portal! Or you can take a look at YouTube for example at Dr. Caroline Leaf's YT account (https://www.youtube.com/c/DrCarolineLeaf).
If this does not help, you can seek help with a therapist or a counselor.