How to Deal with Stage Fright

Have you ever been nervous about a school play or concert, and had a friend or family member simply say, “Don’t be nervous”? They say it because they care and they want to help you, but it can be much easier said than done. Funnily enough, focusing so hard on not feeling anxious can make us even more anxious! Here are some tips to follow when dealing with stage fright.

Warm-Up Before the Performance

Child's hands lacing up pink ballet slippers
Photo by Budgeron Bach from Pexel

If your performance is using your voice, you wanna warm up your voice by singing or talking. If you’re playing an instrument, tune up and play around with it. If you’re going to be using your body, move and dance around a bit! It gives you something to do and think about, and helps make sure you’re all good to go. 

It’s common for our hands to get cold when we’re scared, so try moving your hands around, or rubbing them together. But it’s also common to feel warm or even hot when nervous, and you can run your hands and wrists under cold water to help. 

Focusing on your breathing can be a helpful warm-up no matter what you’re doing. The easiest way is to count your breaths as they pass, starting with 1 when you breathe in and 2 when you breathe out. You can also make your breaths deeper by counting to 5 while breathing in, then again while breathing out, and so on. It sounds simple, but it can help. 

During the Performance

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Once you’ve started your performance, focus on doing the best you can and having fun! When you’re nervous before it starts, it shows how much you care about it. Keep going, and keep breathing, and you’ll be okay. 

Sometimes audiences can seem intimidating, but they want you to succeed. They also want you to be happy while you’re doing it. Remember that they’re rooting for you. 

If you mess up because you’re nervous, don’t let it keep you down. Everybody makes mistakes, and you should be kind to yourself about it. Imagine if a friend made a similar mistake and got upset about it, you’d try to make them feel better, right? So be a friend to yourself too. 

After the Performance

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Even after you’ve finished, you might find yourself still feeling anxious, and that’s normal. It can take a little while for emotions to catch up with events, but they’ll get there. 

If you’re still feeling ‘anxious energy’, try what you did before the performance. Move around to work out some of that energy, or focus on your breathing to calm yourself down. Talking with friends who were performing with you or were in the audience can also help.

Above all, keep being kind to yourself! While it’s good to learn from mistakes, don’t get so discouraged by them that you miss all the things you did right. 

Next Time

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You never completely stop feeling stage fright, but you get more used to it, and you get better at dealing with it. Everytime you feel it, you’re learning from it, and learning how to overcome fear in any situation.

When you become less focused on your own fear, you also start to notice that everyone else feels it too. Next time you’re in a performance, look at the people around you and try to help them if they seem nervous. You might be so focused on helping, that you forget to feel anxious at all!