For many people, the fear of getting up on stage is on par with their fear of death. It is easy to let all the negative and anxious voices take over and overwhelm you with insecurities. Those irrational thoughts can be detrimental to living the life you want, because they try and persuade you that you’re not cut out for anything that might push you out of your comfort zone.
I knew that I needed to write an article like this because I’m a completely anxious person too!! So, I deeply sympathize with your plight, and I want you to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Read on, and I’ll tell you my favorite ways to stay calm and collected during a performance.
1. Be SUPER comfortable with your opener.
The hardest part of performing is those very first seconds. Once you have gotten the jitters out of your system in the first 10-20 seconds of your song, you will be singing at ease. Ask any professional out there - those jitters never entirely leave you, and getting going is half the battle. Do yourself a favor: start with what you know THE BEST and feel the most comfortable singing at any hour of the day. If you ease into your performance by singing something that you can nail even if you just hopped out of bed, you’re gonna start in a positive frame of mind.
If you don’t have a choice about what order you sing your tunes, then work on your opener religiously, until it feels the easiest to you. Preparation is the best prevention for stage fright.
2. Be prepared to laugh at yourself if (and when) something goes wrong.
People loooove watching other people do silly stuff. If they didn’t, YouTube wouldn’t be a thing. Don’t picture a fatal outcome; change your frame of mind. It’s okay to mess up - just laugh it off if you do. I have had unspeakably embarrassing things happen while I was on stage, and guess what?!!! As uncomfortable as those situations were at the time, I now love telling those horror stories because they are hilarious! The reason people watch live entertainment is because ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN. So…. indulge them a little. They want to laugh WITH you. I promise.
3. Put lavender oil on your feet 20 minutes prior to performing.
If you read my last blog post, then you already know that I am a huge fan of essential oils. I believe you should ALWAYS try the natural approach first! I use lavender any time I am feeling remotely anxious, especially in situations where I feel out of control, such as flying, when I’m in a claustrophobic setting, or when I’m performing something that I’m not 100 percent comfortable with.
Lavender oil is some amazing stuff! Lavender’s scent and calming properties make it perfect for aiding in headaches, nervous tension, and emotional stress. It takes twenty minutes to feel its soothing effects once it is applied. The best way to use it is to add it to some carrier oil (like coconut oil) and rub it on your feet. Your feet are like a circuit board to your body. Not only will it calm you down, but you’ll smell delightful!
4. Eat a banana.
Bananas are a natural beta blocker. This means that they help keep your blood pressure and pulse rates low in stressful situations. They are also high in potassium, which is the third most abundant mineral in your body. Potassium acts as an electrolyte and also helps keep the heart, brain, and kidneys in good condition. The reason it should appeal to you in this situation is that it also works wonders at relieving anxiety and stress. So, throw one in your bag to eat before a big show or enjoy a yummy banana smoothie before your head to your gig.
Another huge benefit - it’s much cheaper than any anxiety drug on the market!
5. Make this your new mantra: “It’s JUST a song.”
We are all our own worst critics. It’s easy to expect perfection out of yourself. Try and be realistic, and try to set more goals that are based on your own enjoyment rather than impressing an audience. Before you step out onto stage, remind yourself: “It’s JUST a song.” The length of an average song is somewhere in the ball park of 2-3 minutes (that is, unless you’ve chosen to sing “The Cupid Shuffle”). Please don’t let yourself be defeated by 2-3 minutes of frivolity. Enjoy the hell out of it! Don't end up regretting missed opportunities because you feared something might go wrong.
Like I said earlier, the hardest part is getting going. The best way to enjoy your life is to be an active participant in it!
What are your favorite ways to combat stage fright?
I would love to know!
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