Advice from a Psychotherapist and Hypnotherapist on how to overcome your nerves
and give the performance of your life
Whether it’s a paid gig or an audition, we all want to be able to pull it out of the bag and really shine when the moment comes. The problem is that sometimes our feelings can get in the way. We’ve all been there at some point – heart pounding, legs like jelly and terrified that you’re going to totally mess up that big moment.
Time and again performers have told us they wish they knew how to feel fighting fit for that gig or audition but they just don’t know how….so we decided to get some serious tips from an expert. Jess from Rise Hypnotherapy has worked with countless clients with a total terror or even full-blown phobia of public performance, and this is what she had to say….
”With clients who have a performance or gig coming up, I advise them to start preparing at least a week in advance and I give them tactics and tips that will take them all the way up to the moment they step on that stage.
1.) A week before
This is the time when you need to start really getting into the right mental space.
So many performers who suffer from nerves will start to think about that gig and create mental scenarios where all the worst things happen. They start on the ‘what if I trip?’, ‘what if I forget my lyrics or dance moves?’. All of this sends you into a negative mental trance – you are hypnotising yourself into believing you’ll mess up!
So call a halt and change the picture. Start to create an image in your mind of exactly how you want it to go, build it up and make it as vivid as possible. See the clothes you’ll be wearing, the smiles on the faces of your audience. Sense the sounds and smells you are likely to experience and feel what it will be like to be so calm and collected, with just enough adrenaline to make you bring out the magic. And most of all feel that buzz, that electricity, that high that you feel when you know you’re performing at your absolute best.
Do this every night before you sleep for the first week…
2.) The morning of the performance
Before you set off to wherever you need to be, take ten minutes out and try this exercise…
Sit or lie somewhere comfortable and take at least five deep breaths into the bottom of your lungs, breathing in for a count of three and out for a count of five. This type of breathing triggers something called the parasympathetic nervous system which sends a message to your mind and body that you are calm and safe. Then imagine walking under a waterfall – hear the sound of the water gushing down and see the sunshine reflecting on the droplets of water. Feel how the water washed through you, washing away any areas of stress or fear. Then picture lying by that waterfall in the sunshine and slowly being filled from the feet upwards with a beautiful, glowing, golden light. A light that fills you with stardust and will make you glow.
Now you’re ready to go!
3) Just before you start
If you feel any fear just remember these three things:
Firstly, when we get scared it’s because our body and mind are going into fight-or-flight mode, which basically means that we are reacting in the same way as we would if we were about to be attacked by a lion. It’s normal, we all get it. But you are NOT about to be attacked by a lion. Do some more of that lovely breathing described above and it should pass.
Secondly, if you still feel uncomfortable then try scaling how you feel – say to yourself ‘How scared am I on a scale of 1 to 10?’. Just doing this involves using something called your ‘observing self’, which basically means you have to mentally step out of yourself and look back to scale how you feel. And when you step out of yourself you’re detaching yourself from the fear!
Finally, remember that we really, really need adrenaline and a bit of fear to perform at our best – that pounding heart is actually your friend, and will help you shine!’’
One of our Entertainers Worldwide team has already tried all of these and said it works a treat, so give it a go next time you need to perform. Please do comment on our Facebook page or tweet us and let us know how well it worked for you, we’d love to hear from you!