It’s common for singers to feel nervous or anxious before going on stage, the crucial question is how does a performer manage to these feelings? While some use adrenaline to build a better performance, others find “stage fright” derails their dreams. Read our tips on dealing with nerves.
By the very nature of their professional, singers are exposed to a huge amount of scrutiny. When they are on stage, under the watchful gaze of an audience, the pressure to maintain an audience’s interest – and to hit all the right notes – is enormous.
To an inexperienced performer, these stressful conditions can be rather unnerving and cause them to go into a state of shock. The best way to overcome this is to adopt an effective system to help the body get used to anxiety and nervousness.
But there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Put two people in identical performance situations and you can guarantee the intensity of their reactions will vary drastically. Similarly each singer needs to develop their own individual strategy to cope with stage nerves. Here are some suggestions to help to calm the nerves and keep anxiety at bay.
Countless celebrities have appeared on the covers of magazines, showcasing their hourglass figures or muscular shapes. But exercise isn’t just about changing or maintaining your appearance. Staying fit is a useful way to help prevent anxiety attacks. There is a huge body of medical evidence which shows regular exercise can help to reduce neuroticism, risks of depression and more importantly, prevent the onset of anxiety symptoms. Furthermore, scientists also discovered that as little as 60-minutes of physical activities a week can improve anxiety and nervousness.
When anxiety starts to take hold, the effects of minor distractions are magnified, threatening to derail the whole show. A useful technique for beginners is to look straight ahead and focus on a specific object, blocking out all the other events happening around them. This technique helps the mind to regain its concentration and resume its normal functionality. As individuals start to get the hang of this process, they can slowly allow their eyes to wander the room. For performers who have mastered this technique, engaging with the audiences will come naturally.
An important aspect of achieving maximum concentration is to ensure that you have had sufficient rest before a performance as when the mind is sleep deprived, it is more easily agitated disrupting the thinking process which inadvertently causes a problem with focusing. Engaging in activities such as yoga and meditation can also help to reinforce the mind’s ability to focus in tough situations.
Anticipation is the key towards preventing anxiety or nervousness. A simple trick to prevent signs of nervousness or anxiety is to visualise the performance and imagine the setting and possible distractions. This helps the mind prepare for the actual performance and allows it to concentrate when the actual show begins. Rehearsing is also a good way to prepare the mind for what’s ahead.
Ensuring you get enough exercise is crucial, but also take time to practice breathing techniques that can come in handy during stressful situations. When the mind is in overdrive, it requires a sufficient supply of oxygen to help it calm down and regain its functionality. The right technique is to breathe in from the diaphragm to increase oxygen intake.
Possessing the right mindset is essential for performances. Do not engage in negative thinking but invoke more optimism and confidence in the mind. As the saying goes: “An idle mind is a devil’s workshop.” Increase the chances of a successful performance by keeping the mind occupied instead of allowing negativity to fester and increase the intensity of nervousness and anxiety.
Anxiety and nervousness are caused by an increase in cortisol and adrenaline. Foods such as salmon, blueberries and avocados can help to reduce these conditions. Salmon contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids which restrict the adrenaline and cortisol from spiking. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, helping to protect brain cells from the damaging effects brought on by anxiety and nervousness. Lastly, a lack of vitamin B promotes feelings of nervousness. Include avocados in your diet as they are packed with vitamin B.
Coping with anxiety and nervousness is part and parcel of life as a performer. For singers who are inexperienced and lack the necessary expertise in these situations, it is essential to implement coping techniques to help the mind remain calm. There are many ways to prevent the onset of anxiety and nervousness. Along with physical activities, methods such as visualisation and positive thinking can help build confidence during performances. Last but not least, a specific range of foods such as salmon and avocados and provide the brain with necessary nutrients to fight against the onset of anxiety and nervousness.