Wednesday, 18 March 2015
How I Overcame Stage Fright
As a trainer it's important for me to feel first hand what my students go through so I can use my magical problem solving skills and offer solutions to them. I wasn't quite prepared for stage fright though. I won't go into all the gorey details but I will comment on why it happens and what the antidote is. Usually there's a lot going of additional stress going on as well as the impending performance. For me I was in the middle of a degree and the competition was high. As a result I had put a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect and since I was about 20 years older than my peers at uni, I admittedly felt a little insecure about my original material being somewhat uncool. I was fixated on all kinds of pretend outcomes about what would happen if I didn't do XYZ. My stress levels and expectations were very high and I wasn't doing anything about it. For someone who has been on the wellness path for 25 years I was doing a fantastic job at ignoring my body's signals. Palpitations, panic attacks, night sweats, hypos, headaches, aches and stiffness, IBS and chronic fatigue. The doctor even put me on Beta Blockers. My body was screaming out for attention and I ignored it....until, that it, I had a massive panic attack on stage! Yeah, no one wants that. So I stopped performing and decided to sort this out once and for all. Just as the stress symptoms cropped up over about two years, so my healing had to be slow and steady. Slow because like anything worth having it takes a disciplined focus and patience to integrate. Slow is the antidote. I needed to get my mental health back and stop this incessant worrying which was having a knock on effect in every area of my life. Here's how I did it..... * I decided to focus 100% on recovery because without my health I couldn't enjoy life let alone singing and teaching. * I stopped doing gigs for about a year because I didn't want to continue to scare myself. * I slowly got rid of ALL stress including friends who zapped my energy, excessive work load and anything that would demand too much of my mental or physical energy this included projects with others that I wasn't being remunerated for sufficiently. I began to streamline my life, including hiring a cleaner even though I felt like I couldn't afford one (actually I couldn't afford NOT to have one). * I got rid of irritating substances including caffeine, sugar, wheat and dairy and started to take an interest in healthy cooking and super nutrition. * I downloaded the Headspace app on my iphone and did 60 consecutive days of meditation which helped to train my mind in the art of mindfulness. I also read Ruby Wax's book 'Sane New World' and implemented her techniques. * I stopped the gym as this was producing too much cortisol and instead I took up walking and a Korean form of Yoga which includes: emotional release, vibration training, energy accumulation, body tapping and stretching. * I began to value myself more and realised that this was a way of life not a quick fix cure. _And now...._ * I practice energy management every day. * I listen to my body and always give it what it needs, ignoring at my peril. * I do a pre gig and on stage ritual (nothing weird) to prepare me for performing with sanity!! Stage fright is not a thing in isolation that you can cure without addressing what else is going on in your life. It is the result of scattered, irrational thinking and lack of personal power which reeks havoc on your body's energy circulation. If you are a performer or wannabe performer no matter how amateur or professional, you cannot perform freely without your body's energy being in balance. Even though it was an unpleasant experience, I've collected a lot of information about it to pass on to my students.