What is Performance Anxiety / Stage Fright & Why do I get it?

Performance anxiety, commonly called stage fright is a form of a social anxiety disorder (SAD) that is characterized by negative thoughts about one’s ability to perform, and the fear of an adverse reaction from the audience.

According to a survey of over 2000 professional musicians conducted by the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians, 24 percent of them suffered from stage fright. Some of the contributing factors were too much pressure to perform well and inadequate preparation [1].

And it isn’t just musicians. Most likely, you’ve heard that public speaking is one of the biggest fears people have; more than financial ruin, and even death! Performance anxiety is often responsible for a severe loss of self-confidence, which ultimately causes people to not pursue their goals and dreams.

Symptoms of Stage Fright

Most performers experience some anxiety before they take the stage. Due to the tense nature of the situation, your body thinks you might be in real danger and activates the fight-or-flight response [2].

However, if your stress response is too severe, it becomes problematic and causes stage fright, potentially affecting your ability to perform to the best of your ability.

If you have stage fright here are some of the symptoms you might experience right before you’re about to perform [3]:

  • Trembling, cold and sweaty hands
  • Shaky voice
  • Racing heartbeat and pounding chest
  • Butterflies in your stomach, maybe even nausea
  • Dry mouth

Severity of stage fright & performance anxiety varies from person to person; from relatively mild to the point where one is unable to perform.

Why do I get stage fright?

One of the most significant factors that contribute to stage fright is your own expectations about how your performance, your speech, or your test results will turn out. If you perceive that you aren’t adequately prepared, you might expect that the audience will have an adverse reaction to your performance. Or that your audition won’t go well and you won’t get the role.

Stage fright can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Negative thought patterns about your own ability to perform can impact your performance, causing you to think the anxiety was warranted, making it more likely that you’ll experience stage fright in the future.

Are there risk factors that make it more likely for me to get stage fright?

There are some known risk factors for social anxiety disorder (SAD). Since stage fright is a form of SAD, it is possible that some of these risk factors might also increase your likelihood of experiencing performance anxiety.

One of the possible risk factors for developing SAD is having overprotective parents as a child, as well as experiencing lack of warmth during childhood [4].

Children who were abused, bullied or teased excessively might also be at a higher risk for SAD and stage fright. As adults, having conditions that can draw too much attention (like physical dis-figurations or speech disabilities) could be risk factors as well [5].

Some other risk factors for social anxiety disorder are having other mental disorders such as bipolar disorder or depression, as well as medical conditions like heart disease and obesity [6].

We have a great breakdown of factors that make an individual more likely to experience stage fright in the article ‘glossophobia and me‘ (glossophobia is the medical term for ‘fear of public speaking‘)

How can I overcome Performance Anxiety / Stage Fright?

The natural supplement PerformZen has been shown to be beneficial in dramatically improving performance anxiety & stage fright symptoms.

PerformZen is a natural supplement designed to help public speakers overcome glossophobia symptoms, and maintain their composure and mental focus when they have to deliver a speech under pressure.

PerformZen works by boosting GABA, which is a neurotransmitter that promotes calmness [7]. It also contains magnesium and vitamin B6, which combine together to improve cognitive performance [8].

Additionally, PerformZen contains L-theanine, theacrine, and Ginkgo Biloba, which are natural ingredients that promote calmness and provide a boost in clean energy.

Find out more about PerformZen here.

Reference List:

  1. ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5618811/
  2. ^ https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/psychology/performance-anxiety
  3. ^ https://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/stage-fright-performance-anxiety#1
  4. ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2515922/
  5. ^ https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/social-anxiety-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20353561
  6. ^ https://www.winchesterhospital.org/health-library/article?id=20196
  7. ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4594160/
  8. ^ http://www.researchautism.net/interventions/97/vitamin-b6,-magnesium-and-autism

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Last updated on December 18, 2023