Stage Fright-battling with fears/nerves: Can you face yours?


“For me stage Fright was always a constant battle while growing up. If I could change one thing…it would have been being more socially outgoing”

Growing up, I pretty much was the most shy in classes. Or at least it seemed like that. I would get so nervous that I would sometimes choke on how much water had accumulated in my mouth and kept swallowing. Why?

“I think I was scared of saying something stupid and didn’t want to be judged the wrong way.”

In middle school my mom enrolled me in acting classes and it made the WORLD of a difference. At my church the youth group was asked to  present art or theater and like my friends I chose to memorize and speak a monologue. My mother still recalls the day when I recited a monologue from one of my favorite movies of the time “Contact” It went like this:

Me acting as Ellie Arroway/Jodie Foster in the movie Contact:

“Science fiction. You’re right, it’s crazy. In fact, it’s even worse than that, it’s nuts. You wanna hear something really nutty? I heard of a couple guys who wanna build something called an airplane, you know you get people to go in, and fly around like birds, it’s ridiculous, right?”

“And what about breaking the sound barrier, or rockets to the moon? Atomic energy, or a mission to Mars? Science fiction, right? Look, all I’m asking is for you to just have the tiniest bit of vision. You know, to just sit back for one minute and look at the big picture. To take a chance on something that just might end up being the most profoundly impactful moment for humanity, for the history… of history.”

Watch video if you’ve never heard of this quote:

“My mother’s jaw dropped during this speech and to this day she claims she didn’t know where I went-but I became that character.”

I think that I found such meaning in that speech-of trying to change someone else’s mind about an idea or that I, the character was asking for people to have hope in her ideas that I realized that those topics were more important than my nerves.

“I wanted people to see the importance in innovative ideas and I also wanted people to see me as I always imagined myself- a leader instead of a listener”.

“I truly think that it is the underlying message that we care so much about that makes us face our fears.”

If only it were like the scene in harry potter where you could command your fear to come out of a closet, imagine it to be supper ridiculous and then make it disappear…take a look:

Thinking about actresses/actors. Why is that movie actresses/actors get nervous in talk shows? They win all kinds of academy awards acting as others, but I wouldn’t think they could get nervous in regular interviews.

Maybe its because they are used to memorizing lines but then switching to being them selves is more improvisational?

I was talking to my gym trainer today and he mentioned that he once read a book that mentioned strategies for overcoming nerves. Here is a list that I have found to add to this:

1. Talk to your self in a mirror- can you look yourself in the eye without laughing?

2. Talk to a manicon in public- can you let go of “being cool” and “crazy” judgements and do something silly in public?

3. Imagine that the audience is naked- can you imagine how awkward you would look doing this? Or think of something funny.

4. Take Deep Breaths- inhale….exhale……

5. Smile more- when we smile, others smile back…usually and it makes us feel more comfortable.

6. Eat Bananas- my flute teacher in my undergrad would highly recommend this. Apparently it calms the nerves.

7. Be in the moment and don’t worry about past mistakes or what the future has in store for you.

8. My favorite:

Imagine that a friend is in the audience, someone that you trust and feel really comfortable with and try to pretend they are the only ones in the room. (Though, don’t forget to make eye contact with your audience-you don’t want to look like your cross eyed :)

What are techniques that you do to help with your nerves?

“Practice Makes Better”

Every situation in your life is different from the next, but as I practiced more or had more experience working in a field that made me face my social anxieties…I became less nervous and more confident.

For example, in high school I worked at JCPenney in highschool, and college which demanded that I interact more with the general public. It didn’t take long for me to loose my nerves and develop more social skills. After working there, I knew that I was drawn to customer service and helping others.

“Nerves are Natural”

I still get nervous from time to time, especially if its something I don’t do too often….for example like teaching:

“The thought of public speaking gives me butterflies, but when I think of the message I’m trying to convey about my passions/interests, the nerves dissipate.”

“One thing that is neat about teaching or giving a presentation in your field of interest is you can always learn from others about how well you know something by the questions they ask”

I was recently invited in Spring of 2014 by a good friend and past teacher/committee member to speak as an Alumni on campus at Colorado State, to a Psychology class about my field of Music Therapy. Sure I was a bit nervous, but it after a few minutes of speaking and answering questions, I felt excited to share more of my knowledge and forgot about my butterflies.

 “It felt like a blessing to be an advocate in my field and great practice for the future when I will have to present research and interventions to prospective employment opportunities.”

Knowing that I did the presentation provides me with confidence that I will be able to do so much more in the future.

daisy on guitar



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