How to overcome stage fright using hypnosis
Stage fright has a long history of halting the careers of some of the most famous live performers. You might be surprised to learn that even the most charismatic of these have suffered to such a degree that there were times when they couldn’t perform at all.
Barbara Streisand apparently stopped performing altogether for 27 years after drying-up mid-song in front of a crowd of 135,000 in 1967. She is quoted as saying that she then spent $360,000 on psychotherapy to overcome her stage fright.
Stage fright can also be incredibly specific. Salma Hayek is confident acting on camera but is terrified performing in the theatre. Bill Nighy is much the same, once saying that taking a job in the theatre is like ‘agreeing to be ill for a couple of months’.
Finally, current research suggests that up to 50% of performers experience stage fright. This issue is particularly prevalent among orchestral musicians whose use of beta blockers to calm their nerves is extremely common.
And it’s not just about what goes on inside the mind. Performers can fear the physical symptoms too. Performance anxiety can sometimes lead to shaky body movements which for a violinist can be soul-destroying.
Even my own career as a hypnotherapist came about thanks to the severe performance anxiety I experienced as a singer over 8 years ago. I remember it like yesterday. My first ever live performance and in the space of 2 minutes I managed to cut my thumb on the mic stand and forget the words to ‘Fly Me To The Moon’.
Cue many months of constant fear and frustration that I couldn’t perform as well as I knew I could.
What changed everything for me were two things: an enduring passion for singing that outweighed the fear of being in front of people and learning powerful hypnosis techniques that made everything much much easier.
How can Hypnosis help stage Fright?
Hypnosis can be very effective for overcoming stage fright because it excels at promoting mental and physical relaxation and can help someone re-direct their attention during the critical moments of a performance. Often the symptoms of stage fright are reinforced by us focusing on the wrong things.
Thoughts such as ‘I’m going to mess this up’ or visual images of a previous negative experience can really hijack our progress. An experienced hypnotherapist can help you discover what might be triggering the fear response and then teach you simple and powerful techniques to dampen their effects and focus your mind on what you do what to experience instead.
Hypnosis can teach you how to harness your over-active imagination so that you associate performing with pleasure and a sense of being in control. This might be achieved by having you mentally rehearse either a past successful performance or a future scenario where you see, hear and feel yourself giving a confident performance from start to finish.
Some people worry unnecessarily about whether they can be hypnotised but I tell clients this – that when they go on stage and experience that anxiety and fear, they are hypnotising themselves! They are, in fact, master hypnotists and have convinced themselves so effectively of failure that this is usually what comes to pass in reality. Their minds can then come to expect all those anxious symptoms and experiences.
The unhelpful thoughts and all the negative dialogue that they repeat, over and over, then serves to strengthen this self-hypnosis. The fear can then become more entrenched…
My job, weirdly enough is more about helping someone step out of their own negative thinking patterns. It’s about de-hypnosis.. about breaking those unconscious patterns of thought that make up the problem.
If you, or someone you know is struggling with stage fright, why not get in touch. As a professional singer myself, I know the challenges and have first hand experience of what works and what doesn’t. Hypnosis isn’t a magic cure-all, but the benefits for me were life-changing.