Hypnotherapy for Performance Anxiety
21st May, 20130 Comments
Written by: Patrick Lucocq
Presentation, Performance and Panic
For many people the fear of standing up and presenting in front of an audience is greater than jumping out of a plane with a parachute strapped to their back. It is common to present your latest product, thoughts, research or meeting to an audience both off and online. This exposure to an audience can lead to high anxiety that both prevents and affects consistent and excellent presentation.
Anxiety is more than just a flight or fight response. The automatic response to a life threatening situation is needed - there is little time to be anxious, as our autonomic nervous system kicks in and we take action very quickly. The anticipation of giving a presentation can lead to a mild state of anxiety days before delivery, and this is both automatic AND partly-chosen. Yes, we choose our fear in presentations because our fear is based around embarrassment, professional competence or a strong demand to be liked.
Like any skill, when working with a group of people or with an audience it helps to have some kind of structure, preparation or even strategy to help you deliver your core skills the best you can. This article is not about these particular areas, but they are worth being aware of. By being more aware as to the material you are presenting and delivering, and working to an effective communication structure, anxiety naturally reduces. In hypnotherapy we associate fear and anxiety with dissociation. Dissociation when anxious is the experience of your body being "out" of the meeting room, running down the corridor when you are in fact still in the meeting room. Reintegration, and staying present and calm is the outcome of reducing anxiety and bringing yourself back to the moment.
Hypnotherapy for Anxiety
The most common techniques are desensitisation-based to help the client face their fear more reasonably. There are also techniques to break thinking patterns and matches we make when in familiar or unfamiliar situations. The ability to go into a comfortable trance and undo these habits, replacing them with new and healthier ones, is something your hypnotherapist may be able to help with. The law of reciprocal inhibition means we cannot "be" two differing emotional states at the same time. Using hypnosis to induce a state of relaxation and focus, the client can be re-introduced to what they fear and see it more calmly and rationally. In all reality, we can only do our best. With proper preparation and focus this is very achievable.
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