Anxiety and Performance
One of the biggest mistakes I feel I could ever make in this life (yeah, heavy) is letting anxiety steal my dreams. Level with me... That time you were so nervous before the interview you bombed it. So uneasy about public speaking your awesome-when-I-practiced-at-home-ass presentation sucked upon delivery. Felt so weird about going to do that thing… that you just didn't.
Science says low levels of the brain protein neuropeptide Y are often to blame. NPY is basically our body’s chill, working to restore our body's calm in times of stress. Your level of NPY is genetically predetermined, and can contribute to depression and PTSD. Sucks.
But not so quick to pin it all on nature, Leonardo Brocaprio. RESILIENCE CAN BE LEARNED. We can overcome anxiety leading up to big moments by not thinking about them. I don’t need to tell you that actively paying attention to anything + or - draws emphasis to it, but I did.
If you search for problems in a mirror too long, you’ll find plenty. Actively thinking of yourself negatively led you to actually worry about your forehead-to-nose ratio. What would Bruno Mars or One Direction say?
Breathing meditatively, listening to music and focusing on other people are all things I do to cope before a performance. It’s awesome performing in a group, like in improv comedy. Not because I get the relief of sharing onstage pressure, but because I can talk to somebody entertaining who probably wants to be distracted just as badly as I do.
Do whatever brings you peace. Take a moment to be alone. Schedule a call with your bestie. Pray if that’s your jam. Go have a pre-show poop. Whatever gets you ready to take control of YOUR moment. If you don’t, you might just play yourself.