Wednesday, July 2, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie -- Nervousness, Part 1

How do you handle feeling nervous before a performance?

Many performers try to get rid of it. They ignore it by 'pretending that it is not there.' Or yell at someone, or believe the rampant thoughts that run thru their mind ... Some performers even stop performing altogether because they do not want to feel the jitters at all.

Let's take a look at this experience in new way.

Feeling nervous is often misunderstood. Feeling nervous before a performance can create a flurry of thoughts that can be very controlling. You might notice that these two experiences (nervousness and performance) are linked together, happen a lot and are quite human.

We have been led to believe that being scared or feeling nervous are 'bad' feelings, to suck it up or take a pill. What if it is natural? What if you could 'BE' with it in a different way?

Try This ... isolate what the body does when you feel nervous. In other words how does the body say to you, "I am nervous, You are not going to fool me, you have a performance in an hour."

Here is what clients tell me -- "My heart races." "My knees quiver."
"I hear voices in my head." "I breathe faster." "My stomach is in knots." "I feel jumpy."

Can you honestly say that if you felt those sensations AWAY from a performance (say at another time, such as getting ready for the prom, or going on a vacation) You would ID your experience as "BAD" nervousness?

Let's look at the links and connections -- You have a performance. The idea that you have a performance triggers these sensations in the body.

The body associates these sensations with thoughts and emotions that you relate to performing -- that may not be at all accurate. You simply have established a pattern associated to performance that you believe HAS TO BE negative and scary.

As you approach performance, the body revs up. It has to make changes to perform. Can you perform relaxed in a couch position? Muscles limp. Posture slumped. Probably not.

As you approach performance, the body responds accordingly. Now it is a little different for everyone.

Some folks may be in a more quiet place and then while in the wings be able to jump to a higher energy level to get pumped.
Others may feel sensations all over the body like an electrical feeling. they get juiced and charged up.

You see it is natural for the body to 'get ready."

How does your body do that?

Back by Monday!

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CCHT

Embrace your fears.

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