Shaky hands. Rapid heart beat. Shallow breathing. Dry mouth. Most performers are familiar with these pre-performance jitters. Stage fright, also knows as performance anxiety, is extremely common for performers across every discipline.
Most dancers, actors, singers, and musicians, professional and amateur alike, experience some form of performance anxiety. In most cases, it’s just part of being a performer, but for others it can be much worse. No matter what level of performance anxiety you experience, we want to hook you up with some tips for calming yourself down and getting on with the show.
Remember to breath. Breathing is one of those involuntary acts, so you would think that you wouldn’t need to remember to do it. But one of the symptoms of stage fright is shallow breathing, which can lead to an increased heart rate and feeling like you’re going to pass out. If you’re preparing for a show or audition and you start to feel this way, just take a step back and remember to breath deeply: in through the nose, out through the mouth.
Work with your anxiety. Although performance anxiety is the very thing you don’t want to have, sometimes embracing it is the only way to get over it. Forcing yourself to address your stage fright will keep you from trying to hide it, which will cause you more anxiety. We’re not mathematicians, but if you start to worry about not being worried, you’ve just doubled the amount of worry you have to deal with!
Trick your body into confidence. The old saying “Fake it til you make it!” can actually work when it comes to stage fright. Stand with good posture and force yourself to hold your head high. Even taking small steps like smiling or laughing can help you to relax and feel more confident.
Cut the coffee. We know that sometimes you need a little pick-me-up the day of a show, but caffeine can actually work against you. Caffeine and foods high in sugar can give you temporary energy but you will ultimately feel the effects of a crash. You’ll feel tired, sluggish, and not focused. Definitely not how you want to feel for a performance.
Stage fright is totally normal and if you’re feeling a little jittery before a show or audition, you shouldn’t worry. Try to remember these tricks for calming yourself down so that you can give the awesome performance you know you can.