Throughout my years in school, I have experienced numerous interesting anxiety/stage fright stories. Looking back to my junior year in high school, I was chosen to be a drum major for the band. A drum major, in a nut shell, is responsible for conducting the band during performances. One day during rehearsal, my band director had to leave class for a few minutes and asked me to conduct the Star Spangled Banner. This was my time to shine. For my first time conducting the band, I wanted to make a spectacular first impression. As I made my way toward the podium, I could feel my heart beat begin to thump in my chest. The butterflies were taking flight in my stomach as I stepped up to the wooden podium. My arms felt like they weighed 50lbs each as I lifted them up to start the song.  During these few moments, I was experiencing the phenomenon known as “stage fright” or anxiety.

Merriam Webster defines anxiety as, “painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind usually over an impending or anticipated ill.” See, the definition of anxiety is anxiety’s problem. Our mind becomes uneasy because it senses an impending or anticipated ill. The fact is, that impending or anticipated ill has the potential to be an AMAZING experience. The problem is that our brain tends to seek out the worst possibilities that could happen, which in return cause us to feel apprehension. While in my communications class over the summer, my professor explained to us the process of stage fright and how we can cope with stage fright. I listed his advice below:

The process of stage fright:

  1. It starts with a mental thought known as fight VS flight.
  2. Adrenaline is pumped into the blood stream.
  3. Our heart rate increases and then because of that, we need more oxygen so our respirations increases.
  4. Digestive system is suspended so that…our blood concentrates in the large muscles in arms and legs. Our arms and legs may shake and we may feel butterflies in our stomach.
  5. Finally, our temperature increases so we may sweat a bit as well as feel cold, sweaty palms.

How do we cope with stage fright?

  1. Self-fulfilling prophecy (Positive Thinking) – If the mind can make you feel anxious, it also has the ability to put our thoughts and bodies at ease.
  2. Animate arms and legs. This encourages blood flow throughout the body.
  3. Great posture (chest out, shoulders back, chin up). Be confident in yourself.
  4. Practice, practice, practice! “Winners practice until they get it right; champions practice until they cannot get it wrong.” – Anonymous

In the end, the most important piece of advice for you to overcome glossophobia is to have courage in yourself. Believe in yourself! As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or
think you can’t – you are right.” I always say, you are what you think, and if your mind can cause you to feel uneasy about public speaking, it can also give you the confidence to prevail
over glossophobia. To wrap up my Glossophobia Series, I want to leave you with a Simple Truth’s video about courage entitled, “Courage doesn’t always roar.”

LINK: http://www.movieofcourage.com/

In the comments below, share a story or experience where you had to find the courage to overcome a fear such as public speaking or stage fright.

<< Glossophobia? (Part 3)

Advertisements