How to Cure Stage Fright & Other Social Phobias
Stage fright is a common anxiety caused by an overwhelming worry about performing well and avoiding embarrassment or judgment, which usually manifests as nervousness, heart palpitations and sweating.
Other common symptoms include racing thoughts, stuttering, nausea and abdominal cramps. Although there is no cure for stage fright and other social phobias, the symptoms can be drastically reduced by using relaxation techniques, behavioral therapy or anti-anxiety medication.
5 Steps to Cure Stage Fright & Other Social Phobias
1. Practice rhythmic breathing exercises.
When you become anxious, your breathing often changes from deep to short breaths, which can cause you to hyperventilate, exacerbating your anxiety. Inhale deeply through your nose for 2 seconds, then exhale through your mouth until all of the air is removed from your lungs. Repeat for 3 to 5 minutes to reduce anxiety.
2. Analyze your fears.
Anxiety can cause a snowball effect, a way of thinking that piles fears or worries on top of each other and turns small worries into big problems. Brainstorm the worst possible outcome by imaging yourself in the fearful situation. Imagine working through the situation by thinking how you would cope during the situation. Stress and anxiety can be reduced when you think of ways to deal with them realistically.
3. Create a coping statement.
According to “Living with Anxiety,” a coping statement can help significantly reduce your fears when said during anxious moments. This statement acknowledges that you are anxious, and that you will work to reduce anxiety by replacing negative expectations with realistic outcomes of the situation.
4. Visit a therapist.
A therapist can help you adjust your negative and anxious feelings by helping you create and strengthen coping techniques, as well as examine where the fear originated in order to gain a better understanding as to why you feel this way. Ask about exposure therapy, a type of therapy that reduces fear by putting you in the stressful situation repeatedly until the anxiety subsides.
5. Consider medication.
Anti-depressants, sedatives and beta blockers are all common medications used to reduce or prevent anxiety. Anti-depressants provide a chemical balance of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects your mood.
Beta blockers reduce the amount adrenaline produced, which causes stage fright and physical symptoms of anxiety. Sedatives reduce anxiety by helping you to relax, but must be taken as directed due to the possibility of addiction.
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