Stage Fright, Fear of Public Speaking, Glossophobia and HypnotherapyHypnotherapy and Hypnobalancing™ in Berlin
Stage fright or performance anxiety is the anxiety, fear, or persistent phobia which may be aroused in an individual by the requirement to perform in front of an audience, whether actually or potentially for example when performing before a camera. In the context of public speaking, this may precede or accompany participation in any activity involving public self-presentation.
There are four different parts of stage fright:
Anticipation is the expectation of negative and unrealistic images of the performance.
Avoidance is the desire to avoid doing the task.
Panic and anxiety are the symptoms experienced before the presentation in front of an audience.
An appraisal is a period after a performance when the performer looks back on how the activity was done.
Many people feel a degree of nervous apprehension when preparing to speak up or perform in front of a group. But those who are filled with feelings of dread and panic in such a situation may be suffering from a form of social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia.
The fear of public speaking or performance anxiety, often called stage fright, exacts a huge toll on self-confidence and self-esteem and causes some people to leave school or a job or pass up a promotion. Many, including professional performers, suffer in silent terror. And because they feel embarrassed, people try to keep their fear a secret, even from a spouse or other close family members or friends.
The fear of public speaking is very common, it can affect everyone. Most people have some kind of fears in front of an audience whether it’s talking in front of a small group of peers at work, or giving a formal speech in front of a large audience. Sometimes the fear is so intense that it is essential to deal with it.
Many people experience stage fright without any wider problems. For some of my clients, the anxiety is severe enough to be classified as a phobia. In those cases, stage fright may be a part of a larger pattern of social phobia or social anxiety disorder. A phobic reaction means that someone avoids speaking in public at all costs, and if he has to do so, it would likely cause a panic attack.
Quite often, stage fright arises in a mere anticipation of a performance, often a long time ahead and has numerous manifestations. The intensity of anxiety can be really different.
Stage fright symptoms are part of the body’s primary threat response, also known as the fight or flight syndrome.
Two types of anxiety symptoms are associated with public speaking:
1. Anticipatory Anxiety
Symptoms start before the speaking event. For some, they begin days, weeks or even months before the speaking event. For others, they begin only minutes before speaking. Whether mild or severe, anticipatory anxiety starts at some point prior to the actual speaking event.
2. Event Anxiety
Symptoms occur while presenting, rather than prior to the presentation.
Possible symptoms of stage fright
- Increased heart rate
Fluttering or pounding heart.
- Tight chest
- Tremor in the hands and legs
- Excess Sweating
Especially sweaty hands.
- Digestive problems
- Facial nerve tics
- Dry mouth
Avoiding work, meetings or giving speeches.
For many of my clients, their sensitivity to speak in front of others impacts the quality of their work and the potential for being promoted. This can place limits on the professional life. And the fear of public speaking can interfere with the quality of the social life. The good news is that hypnotherapy with Hypnobalancing™ and other effective methods can greatly assist you to anticipate public speaking calmly and relieve these symptoms.
Glossophobia: Glosso from the Greek, meaning tongue, and Phobus, fear.
Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before the anticipated activity. In relation to public speaking, this type of fear is known as glossophobia or speech anxiety which is the fear of speaking before an audience.
Most people with glossophobia do not exhibit symptoms of other types of social phobias, such as fear of meeting new people or fear of performing tasks in front of others, provided they do not have to talk. Nonetheless, stage fright is a relatively common experience in those with glossophobia.
Complications of Glossophobia
Glossophobia is very limiting in many ways. The vast majority of careers involve some level of public speaking, from participating in meetings to giving presentations to clients. It also can happen at a social gathering where the thought of meeting new people cause you to become nervous and edgy. If the phobia is severe, you may find yourself unable to perform these necessary tasks and this can lead to consequences up to and including losing your job.
People who suffer from social phobias also have a higher than normal risk of developing conditions such as depression or other anxiety disorders. This is likely due to the feelings of isolation that can develop over time.
Avoidance may give immediate relief, but it reinforces the fear in the long run. With training, it is possible to improve your speaking or performance skills, but it’s generally not enough to substantially reduce your fear. With hypnotherapy, you can address and revise any negative perceptions, beliefs, thoughts, images, and predictions related to public speaking or performing. And it’s often helpful to uncover the deeper fears related to being seen and heard by others, showing vulnerability, and being considered less than perfect. Learning to accept yourself and not feeling that you have to prove yourself to others is at the root of healing.
How to overcome stage fright, glossophobia and Co.
Learning to improve your speaking or performance skills is good, but it’s generally not enough to substantially reduce your fear of public speaking. You have to address and revise any negative perceptions, beliefs, thoughts, images, and predictions related to public speaking or performing. And it’s often helpful to uncover the deeper fears related to being seen and heard by others, showing vulnerability, and being considered less than perfect. Learning to accept yourself and not feeling that you have to prove yourself to others is at the root of healing.
I recommend that you learn skills to reduce and manage your fear and anxiety and not resort to using medication alone. It’s also critical to learn techniques to stop the cycle of avoiding fearful situations. Avoidance may give you immediate relief, but it reinforces your fear in the long run. Avoidance is what stabilizes a phobia.
If you are willing to stop avoiding your fears and learn new skills to reduce and manage them, I will help you to develop an empowering belief and trust in yourself. In facing your fear, it becomes possible to overcome intense stage fright and performance anxiety and to find comfort and ease in expressing yourself in front of others.
Let go of stage fright and the fear of public speaking
In the nineties, I started to train people and their presentation skills. Most of the participants had some anxiety when they had to enter the stage. With a bit more training usually they let go of the limiting kind of stage fright, but some didn’t. A few still suffered from stage fright even after practicing many times.
I learned that in such cases the anxiety can be really profound and need more than the common steps. As a coach and trainer, I had some experience and training to help those people, but I wasn’t allowed to do it when it came closer to psychotherapy. As the result, I gained the official allowance to do psychotherapy. Since then I had a lot of time to help people with stage fright. Some even travel to Berlin to work with me.
What do I do?
Let me say it this way; you will discover how to:
- Break through your feelings of intense fear and loss of control associated with speaking or performing in front of others.
- Minimize your uncomfortable physical symptoms associated with panic.
- Reduce the dread of anticipating a speaking or performing event.
- Eliminate your need to avoid situations of speaking or performing because of fear.
- Create a relaxed and confident state of mind and body in preparing to speak or perform.
- Transform your fear into a positive energy and power in speaking and performing that you never imagined possible.
The experience of stage fright is affected by those factors:
Genetics play a role in how strong our feelings of anxiety are in social situations. Some people are simply genetically wired to feel more scared when performing or speaking in public than others.
2. Level of task mastery
Practice makes perfect. The advantage of practice is to increase our familiarity with a situation. As this familiarity increases, feelings of anxiety decrease, and have less of a negative impact on performance. The anxiety we feel about speaking in public will be less, the more comfortable we feel with our presentation.
Sometimes when we give a presentation the stakes are high. When the stakes increase it triggers the release of more adrenaline and can result in paralyzing fear and anxiety.
Frequently ask questions
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about stage fright and hypnotherapy.
A bit anxiety in front of an audience is a common experience but severe stage fright, also known as performance anxiety, can be diagnosed with a social anxiety disorder if a number of criteria are met. For example, in case you nearly always experience physical symptoms in the feared situation, and the fear severely impacts your daily functioning.
Usually, stage fright is diagnosed with specific social anxiety disorder rather than generalized social anxiety disorder because it is a fear of only one or a few specific social or performance situations. Good news: Specific social anxiety disorder is generally more easily overcome than generalized social anxiety disorder because it is usually less severe and less chronic.
In some cases, stage fright, also known as performance anxiety, may be a part of a larger pattern of social phobia or social anxiety disorder, but many people experience stage fright without any wider problems.
Many people with stage fright try to keep it hidden and suffer in silence.
There are many causes of stage fright but the most common is that the individual lacks self-confidence. Being unprepared and forgetting the lines are good reasons for the anxiety. Some individuals fear that they look witless and that they would gain the antagonism of the audience. The best explanation is that stage fright is a physiological reaction. When the body is presented with a stimulus; its reaction is excitement or fear. The symptoms of stage fright – sweating, trembling, palpitations – are typical of a surge of adrenaline. The stricken speaker seizes up, both physically and mentally; the mouth goes dry, breathing becomes short and shallow, vision blurs and concentration evaporates. In extreme cases, it can trigger vomiting and diarrhea. And no one’s going to go on after that.
In case you suffer from stage fright: You are not alone. It was Mark Twain who coined the term stage fright, and though he claimed to have experienced it only once. Statistics say that the fear of public speaking is the number one fear in surveys. Many people with this fear try to keep it hidden and suffer in silence.
Why? Some believe it is bad for their reputation. The truth is that this problem does not reflect a character flaw or weakness. Many capable and accomplished people suffer from this problem. There appears to be a combination of nature and nurture at play, which creates the source of this problem.
Self-hypnosis has helped many patients with stress. Many sufferers usually report very quickly a noticeable improvement. Pondering, fears, mental and physical tension can be additionally reduced by self-hypnosis. Therefore, I teach my patients self-hypnosis to supplement the hypnosis sessions.
After positive trance experiences have been made with my support, self-hypnosis can be learned very quickly. This helps them to progress self-determined outside the therapy. It accelerates the process, deepens and consolidates the achievements. This also promotes the independence of the clients. A good therapist will be superfluous as soon as possible. Self-hypnosis is an excellent self-help method that can be used beyond the actual topic.
Let's get into a conversation. If you are interested, for questions and appointments you can reach me by e-mail (email@example.com), phone 030/86421369 and mobile phone 01577/7045356. By phone, you reach me best from Monday to Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. During the sessions, there is an answering machine. Leave a message and your telephone number and I'll call you.
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