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Performance Anxiety

“The brain is a wonderful thing. It starts working the minute you are born and never stops until you get up to speak in public.” ~ Mark Twain

Performance Anxiety

What is Performance Anxiety

When you take a test, you are being evaluated on how well you know the material.

When you perform, you are likely to perceive your performance as being evaluated.

When you audition, you are obviously being evaluated.

It is the combination of perceived demands, consequences, and corresponding physiological responses that is commonly referred to as performance anxiety. The better this is all managed, the more joy and satisfaction you can look forward to, allowing someone to achieve their dreams and ambitions.

Performance Anxiety is a heightened mental and physical response in a performance situation. Anxiety can be one reason why we don’t perform well. Hours and hours of practice, knowing every note of the music, every line of your performance or speech, and when you practice you perform it perfectly. When it comes time to perform, you don’t feel so great. Your heart pounds faster than normal, your chest feels tight or you can’t clear your head of the mental static. These are typical symptoms of performance anxiety and it can be better.

Many references use the term “performance anxiety.” However, someone may have anxiety without having stage fright. Stage fright suggests that the fear is at such a heightened level that performance degradation is likely – the fear or anxiety is acute. Stage fright is something that does not occur in the comfort of your own home during a routine solitary practice. A piece played perfectly twenty times at home can be transformed in an instant to a mess of notes, lacking in vitality or indeed accuracy once an audience is present!

Coping with Performance Anxiety

Some people have learned how to cope and are able to perform well even if they are temporarily thrown off by their situation. Some never had the chance to develop their coping skills well enough and need to find a way to improve these skills. There are ways of controlling that critical inner voice, managing the anxious feelings, allowing you to truly express yourself under pressure and experience a satisfying performance.

I will work with you to hone in the mental and emotional skills you need to manage anxiety thus being able to perform consistently on demand, when it matters most. Learning how to manage performance anxiety will leave you stronger mentally and emotionally allowing you to perform with more energy, passion, purpose, and comfort.

If your symptoms are not debilitating and you merely seek to ease them, then you may benefit from pre-performance exercises like deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. If you have already tried these skills and they are not enough, then you may want to consider performance hypnosis.

What are the BENEFITS of Performance Coaching and Performance Hypnosis:

  • You can move from practicing great to performing even better.
  • You acquire skills that help you cope and feel better so you can control your mind and body
  • You learn new ways of responding to stress and how to control emotions
  • You learn how to improve your focus and concentrate your energy and attention
  • You will change thinking patterns that put pressure on you and elevate your level of arousal
  • You will develop skills to interrupt and manage negative and persistently troublesome thoughts
  • You will learn to produce calming and soothing responses to stress which will diminish worry, restlessness, irritability, and insomnia and increase your resiliency to both short-term and long-term stress
  • You will notice an increase in confidence because you are performing better.

How performance hypnosis works

It is not uncommon for performers, athletes, test-takers and public speakers to focus only on their performance related tasks that the mental side gets overlooked. Instead a performer will over practice their performance resulting in fatigue, worry and tension. So, just as you strengthen the physical and technical aspect of your performance, the mental side can be approached in the same way. Treating your mental game the way you treat the physical and technical aspects of your preparation will allow you to prevent problems from arising and strive for optimal performance not perfection.

Due to a better understanding of brain neuroscience, performance psychology techniques are now available to get this anxiety under control. The use of hypnosis has been found to ease the learning process. There is a growing body of scientific literature attesting to the fact that hypnosis enhances the learning process and improving one’s ability to learn stress reducing skills. The hypnosis effectively enhances the way the mind imprints what you are trying to teach it.

Hypnosis does not fix the problem however; it does play a major role in providing relief by being combined with certain techniques, making for easier mental conditioning. These skills/techniques are:

  • Relaxation training
  • Visualization
  • Positive thinking
  • Arousal control
  • Managing distraction
  • Pre-performance routine and goal setting

So how does this all work?

I will work with you to develop the ability to hypnotize yourself (this is called self hypnosis)-this means teaching yourself how to achieve a comfortable yet alert and focused state of mind. It is while in this ideal state of focus that learning is enhanced. Under hypnosis you can condition your mind to learn skills to relax, control your thoughts and feelings, manage distractions and utilize imagery training. During this conditioning a trigger is created. A trigger is a word or words, sound(s), image(s) or a natural part of the performance routine. The goal is to associate a word that one can do or think about during the conditioning phase in order to produce the desired response during the performance. So when the trigger is initiated during a performance/competition/test/public speaking the conditioned ideal response is easily recalled.

Those not open to using hypnosis, well you don’t have to be, and optimal performance can still be accomplished by way of mental skills training without the performance hypnosis.

Performance anxiety is a positive element, not the enemy. I work with people who know what they need to know to perform great but they just need help performing great under pressure. I have helped many people learn ways to control anxiety and be able to maximize their performances. If you would like to discuss how I could help you, please contact me at 585-262-4070 for a free 20 minute phone consultation.


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