Stage Fright

Stage fright is just another form of presentation nerves. Stage fright is all about the fear of judgement. People who struggle with stage fright are without a doubt predicting failure. By that I mean they are predicting negative judgement from those watching.

I have worked with many people who have suffered from stage fright, from Shakespearean actresses to top opera singers. Without exception, they feel that they will be judged negatively by either the audience or sometimes their peers.

Stage Fright

To show how this works I arranged for an actress with severe stage fright to go on stage in a bear costume so nobody in the audience would know who it was. As soon as this happened her stage fright evaporated.

This fear of judgement is typical of virtually all forms of social phobia. The fear exists because, at a subconscious level, for some reason, they have a belief that they are not good enough in some regard.

Emma said, “I was asked to give an after-dinner speech at a function recently of about 120 people. My worst nightmare, having always suffered from nerves even in small meetings of 5 or so people. I approached Paul Howard for help!!

Paul helped me re-train and focus my mind through hypnotherapy and positive thinking, by replaying a positive video in my mind of the outcome of my speech. I also emulated someone who I admire who is an accomplished public speaker.

The evening was a great success. I still had some nerves, but once I stood up to give my speech these melted away. I have since been able to stand up in church and give a reading as well. I would really recommend the treatment for anyone who suffers from this debilitating condition.”

This belief is normally set up in early childhood. Often the cause can be traced back to a separation from the opposite sex parent at an early age, generally between the ages of 4 to 9, although separation from the same sex parent can have a similar effect but normally to a lesser degree.

For example, if a couple divorces with two children, a girl aged 6 and a boy aged 4, and as a result of the divorce the father leaves the home, in my experience, the girl is much more likely to suffer from social phobia. However, if the mother leaves and the children stay with the father, the opposite occurs.

Hear Paul Howard talking about Kate Bush’s stage fright on BBC Radio

Parental separation is not the only cause of stage fright and presentation nerves. Critical parents or peers and bullying are prime causes for these types of social phobia as well.

The way it works is that, in those times of stress, there are generally significant negative feelings and emotions and because of that, the subconscious learns to avoid any future situations that may cause similar feelings. The subconscious mind does this by using the fight or flight response to encourage us to avoid these “danger” situations. It believes it is protecting us by avoiding any situation that may cause embarrassment or criticism.

The problem is that, in general, the number and type of situations tend to increase over time as the sufferer predicts more and more situations where they might possibly be criticised.

So what can you do about it?

Overcoming stage fright with hypnotherapy

Well, obviously hypnotherapy is a very rapid and effective way to get to the root problem and bring incite to the person about why they have these feelings about themselves. It can then go on to change those beliefs and make a real permanent change at a core level.

Hypnotherapy, although fast and effective, is not the only way. Insight can be gained through personal analysis and possibly counselling over a long period. When it comes to making changes in our belief systems, self-help books and some kind of coaching can be really helpful.

But what next?
After the beliefs about self, have been addressed, the next important order of business is to address the prediction mechanisms that the person uses to predict the outcome of what was previously a “danger” situation. We use hypnotherapy to get fast results but it can be achieved by repeatedly visualising how the situation would go if it was a positive outcome. If played often enough in your mind, you can achieve the same results, albeit a bit slower.

By using these techniques, you take away the underlying anxiety that was supporting the behaviour and create a much better prediction of the outcome. This allows the subconscious to feel more relaxed about the “danger” situation and ultimately allows you to enter it feeling calm and relaxed.

Oh, by the way, the Shakespearean actress no longer suffers from stage fright. She now feels good about herself and is pretty ambivalent about thoughts of someone judging her negatively. Now she concentrates on giving her best performance and “to hell” with the critics.

Do you get anxious when performing in public?

If you suffer from stage fright, presentation nerves or any form of social phobia, watch a new video I have created just for you.
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