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Understanding Performance Anxiety

Learn how to manage and overcome performance anxiety also known as stage fright as a performer or creative artist in the creative space.

Performance anxiety, also known as stage fright is a type of anxiety that occurs when an individual feels worried or fearful about performing in front of others. This can occur in a variety of situations, such as public speaking, musical or theatrical performances, television/film, interviews, or even social events. Performance anxiety can be debilitating and prevent individuals from reaching their full potential. In this blog post, I will discuss the causes of performance anxiety and provide tips for managing it.

Causes of Performance Anxiety

Performance anxiety can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  1. Fear of failure: Many individuals are afraid of making mistakes or failing when performing in front of others. This fear can be amplified if the individual believes that their performance will be judged or evaluated.

  2. Perfectionism: Some individuals hold themselves to an extremely high standard and believe that any mistake is unacceptable. This can lead to intense pressure and anxiety when performing.

  3. Lack of preparation: If an individual feels unprepared for a performance, they may experience anxiety and worry about their ability to perform well.

  4. Trauma: Individuals who have experienced trauma or negative experiences related to performing in the past may be more likely to experience performance anxiety.

Tips for Managing Performance Anxiety

If you experience performance anxiety, there are several strategies you can use to manage it. Here are some tips:

  1. Practice: Practicing your performance or presentation can help you feel more prepared and confident. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will be with your material.

  2. Focus on your breathing: Deep breathing exercises can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. Before your performance, take a few deep breaths and focus on your breathing to calm your nerves.

  3. Reframe negative thoughts: If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts, try to reframe them more positively. Instead of thinking "I'm going to mess up," try thinking "I've practiced this and I'm ready to do my best."

  4. Visualize success: Visualizing a successful performance can help you feel more confident and reduce anxiety. Close your eyes and imagine yourself performing well, receiving positive feedback, and feeling proud of your performance.

  5. Seek support: Talking to a supportive friend, family member, or therapist can help you manage performance anxiety. They can provide encouragement, feedback, and strategies for coping with anxiety.

Performance anxiety can be challenging to manage, but with practice and support, it is possible to overcome it. By using these strategies, you can feel more confident and comfortable when performing in front of others. If you need support with managing and overcoming your anxiety email to schedule a free 15-min consultation.

About the Author:

Janelle Owens, LCSW is a psychotherapist who provides individual therapy to performers (dancers, actors, musicians, screenwriters), creative artists, and corporate employees in the TV/Film industry.

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