Home: 2006 |
Performing, What’s the Big Deal?
Performance anxiety is not
something that only happens to musicians, singers,
actors and dancers. It happens any time we feel pressure
to "perform" in a specific situation or over a period of
time. Writing a book or creating a painting or sculpture
may evoke symptoms as well.
Symptoms of performance
anxiety include "butterflies" in the stomach, quickened
heart rate or more severe symptoms such as
hyperventilation, dizziness or intense fear.
The 5 main reasons for performance anxiety are:
1. We're not present in the
moment, inside our body.
When we're focused on our (negative) thoughts and on
what we *think* about what's happening, as opposed to
just taking in the sensory information from around us
without analyzing it, we miss out on what's happening.
Unrealistic expectations can warp our perceptions of how
great we actually are!
Lack of training in performance-specific skills.
Sometimes our training is focused more on the execution
of our art form, and not specifically focused on helping
us become comfortable and confident performers.
Performing is not natural for everyone and needs to be
4. Past trauma.
People who have suffered abuse or trauma have a much
harder time being "exposed" in a performance setting.
Sometimes, also, we have had traumatic experiences to do
with our art form – such as critical teachers or harsh
Difficulty connecting with other people.
Gifted performers have
sometimes grown up very isolated because of time spent
with their art form instead of "playing" with their
When you generally think of
yourself as different or an outsider, or in terms of
"me" and "them", being in front of an audience just
magnifies that and it becomes more difficult to think of
the audience as lovingly receiving your talents and
gifts. Instead you may see them as judgmental or unkind.
About The Author: Linda
Dessau, the Self-Care Coach, helps artists enhance their
creativity by addressing their unique self-care issues. To
receive her free monthly newsletter, "Everyday Artist",
Back to Top