Wellness Tool: Calming Anxiety
We've all been there: hours before a performance, anxiety makes its scheduled arrival in the form of a fluttery stomach, accelerated heartbeat, or mental images of all the ways we will mess up the performance. Anxiety can be debilitating and worst of all, it sucks away any confidence we had in ourselves.
Watching your dancer go through this can make you feel everything from frustrated (but you KNOW you can do this!!) to helpless (she's not absorbing anything you're saying).
Here is the good news:
- Even the most seasoned performers can experience stage anxiety, like Baryshnikov, who claims that he still fears failure before going onstage (?!).
- There are simple, effective tools to combat this kind of anxiety.
The simplest tool is breathing, which acts as an antidote to fear. We know from research that when the mind is scared, the body reacts by raising our pulse and getting ready for trauma (you may have heard the phrase "fight or flight"). When we calm the body first through breath, the mind follows.
Talk your dancer through slow, deep breaths. Ask her to close her eyes or focus on a single point. Alter your voice to reflect the slowing of her breath and your own sense of calm. Ask her to focus on lengthening her breaths in and out and on noticing how the air feels as it moves in and out of her nose.
3-5 minutes of this can make a world of difference,
taking her from a 10 on the anxiety scale to a 5 or 6.
Think this is something your dancer would benefit from but you don't want to be the one talking her through it? I hear you. Please head over to my website to schedule a Discovery Session with me. We can get started on this and many other tools to conquer performance anxiety.
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