What does stage fright really do to us? Why do our nerves get the best of us when performing?
Hey there! Welcome to Life Noggin! Picture this. You spend all night preparing your presentation on the cultural impact of Pluto not being a planet anymore, But then, when it comes time to present to your classmates the next day, you get all nervous and freeze up, even if you try and imagine everyone in their underwear, there’s still a bajillion eyes all staring at you, like some sort of giant spider monster that wears tightly whiteys for some reason. Well that’s stage fright for ya. If I’m gonna see this scary spider monster every time I get on stage, we should try and learn about the science behind stage fright. Maybe then we can get to the root of the problem. Stage fright, also known as performance anxiety, is basically a disruptive fear or feeling of anxiety that can interfere with your ability to do something, especially in a social setting. At its worst, stage fright can negatively impact a person's life or career as they lose the ability to perform in specific situations. While my own experience might be a little… unique… getting all nervous or anxious before performing in front of others is a pretty common thing. These feelings can overlap with how you’d feel if you were in actual danger due to your body’s fight-or-flight response kicking in. General stage fright symptoms can include rapid breathing and an increased heart rate, cold hands or sweaty palms, and feeling nauseous. Parts of your body can also start to tremble, oftentimes in your hands and lips. Your voice can get shaky as well. While you may not be able to entirely get over stage fright, there are some things that you can do that might help. Certain nutrients and stimulants can make matters worse, so it’s typically advised to limit caffeine and sugar intake around times that you’ll be in the spotlight. Certain life choices can help as well, like exercising more and getting adequate sleep. Practicing ways to calm down can also help calm your nerves. Try including deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga into your routine. But is the only answer to getting over stage fright to just try and calm ourselves down? Well, according to a Harvard University study that came out around 5 years ago, you might actually want to consider the opposite — embrace the anxiousness and think of it as excitement. They found that, compared to people who tried to calm down in a stressful situation, those that thought of their anxiety as excitement actually felt more excited and ended up performing better. Basically, with some simple actions like saying they were excited out loud, participants in the study were able to adopt an opportunity mindset instead of a threat mindset, and improve their performance. Ok. I guess here goes nothing. Come on, you giant scary spider thing! I can’t wait to give this presentation! AHHHH! I’M SO EXCITED! So, have you ever had really bad stage fright, or are you someone that really likes performing? Let me know any of your stories in the comment section below if you're comfortable with sharing. here's a thought experiment for you. What if you woke up one day and could never talk again? You might wanna check out this video. Aphasia is a disorder in which damage to parts of your brain, often on the left side, impairs your ability to talk and even understand what other people are saying. As always, my name is blocko, this has been life noggin, don't forget to keep on thinking!
1. Define "Stage Fright" and enumerate its symptoms.
2. What should be done to get over stage fright, as per the video?
3. Do you have any phobias? Give much detail about your answer.