Thursday, May 3, 2012

How to Manage Performance Anxiety with Alexander Technique

Performance anxiety is experienced by just about everyone, in many different kinds of situations, not just by performers who go out on stage in front of an audience.  People can even suffer from a form of performance anxiety while having an intimate conversation with a close friend.  All kinds of performance anxiety can be alleviated by applying the Alexander Technique to the situation.

Here is a link to an article I wrote some years ago on this topic:
Performance Anxiety ~ A Way to Deal with it that Works!

Here are the core ideas, in a nutshell:

• You recognize your habitual response to a situation (scary thoughts, sweat, shaking, etc.)
• You remember that you are free; you see that you have a choice–how you respond is up to you
• You know the old way doesn’t work, so you decide to stop doing that and try something new
• Since the old way was to try to get rid of or change the situation, this time you won’t do that
• You don’t do anything other than let your feelings be there, allowing yourself to feel them
• Once you feel the feelings, you come to know them, and then they’re no longer frightening
• When there’s nothing to be afraid of, the feelings of performance anxiety (fear) disappear.

...and then you can ENJOY yourself.  Magic!

I would love to hear your responses to this article, especially if you try out the suggestions, or if you have another way to deal with performance anxiety.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not familiar with AT, nor have I participated in any..."boosting" counseling such as Toastmasters™, but I use a technique that intellectualizes emotions, as the above example seems to do. I simply ask, "Why?" and when I get an answer, I ask "why" to that, and keep asking: "Why am I anxious?" [[I'm afraid I won't perform well.]] "Why does that make me anxious?" [[I'm afraid people will scorn me/make fun of me/ridicule me...]] "Why does that bother me?" [[ reason it should bother me...but a small, seeming irrational expectation that people will value me less is still there...]] "Okay, so maybe some people will like you less. Why is THAT a problem?" And so on.

    Eventually, I get to the point where I realize that the only people who matter, love me in spite of how I perform; and if they don't, they shouldn't matter to me, right? :)


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