How to Get Rid of Stage Fright Using Science

Is it possible to defeat stage fright considering recent scientific discoveries? We believe so, and in this article we look at several ways individuals who need to perform, whether on stage or in a job interview, can overcome stage fright so that they can perform at their best despite all the pressure. We also look at several stage fright remedies available to you right now, from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to GABA & L-theanine supplements.

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You’re backstage, waiting for the announcer to introduce you. The audience is cheering and clapping, waiting in anticipation for your speech, musical performance, or your stand-up comedy routine.

You live for moments like this. Performing in front of audiences is your passion, it’s what drives you to work hard every single day.

But instead of feeling excitement and anticipation, you’re almost in a complete state of panic.

Your hands are cold, you’re sweating profusely, your heart is racing, and there’s that feeling of anxiety swirling in your gut. It’s like you’re being drained of your ability to go out there and do what you love to do.

If that sounds familiar, then you’re among millions of people around the world that experience performance anxiety, also known as stage fright.

When you’re faced with delivering a performance for an audience, or any other social situation where you have to perform under pressure, you might automatically assume that you will be judged negatively. Often it is an unconscious process that triggers a stress response, which then causes the physical symptoms of stage fright [1].

Dealing with stage fright might be taking a toll on your self-confidence. Maybe it makes you dread the very thing which you love the most, which is performing for audiences. Or, it may have cost you opportunities in the past, whether it’s a new job, a client, or social connections.

But what about stage fright remedies? Do they work, and is it really possible for you to overcome stage fright?

Do stage fright remedies really work?

Yes, the right remedy can definitely help you overcome stage fright.

But what is the right remedy?

That answer will vary depending on the individual, because performance anxiety is a complex issue, with a variety of potential causes.

It is often a self-fulfilling prophecy. Negative thought patterns about your own ability to perform can lead to a stress response, which impacts how you perform. You then think your negative expectations are warranted, making it more likely that you experience stage fright again in the future.

Or it could be environmental factors. If you were bullied as a child, or if you had overly critical parents, you could be more likely to experience social anxiety.

Among biological factors, having a hyperactive amygdala (a part of the brain that regulates emotions and stress response) has also been linked with social anxiety and stage fright. It may cause an exaggerated fear response, which could exacerbate stage fright symptoms [1].

The right treatment for you will depend on the root causes of stage fright that are specific to you. You should consult a therapist who can evaluate your history and recommend a treatment plan that will work for you.

But there are some remedies that can help most people with performance anxiety. It can be a combination of therapy, relaxation techniques, and natural supplements designed to promote calmness.

Let’s look at some of the common remedies against stage fright, as well as the science behind why they are effective.

Understanding the mechanism behind why a remedy works for performance anxiety will help you decide if it might be right for you.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for stage fright

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of therapy designed to modify your thoughts in a way that makes the idea of performing less stressful for you.

There may be various factors involved in why you experience stage fright. There could be physical, emotional, and mental aspects to it.

The goal of CBT is to take something you find overwhelming (like performing in front of an audience), break it down into smaller parts, and to replace any negative patterns with more positive and productive ones [2].

Your therapist will help you understand the thoughts and emotions that are responsible for your anxiety, and how you can adjust your perceptions about performing for an audience in a positive way.

You might have several different unconscious, but self-defeating patterns of thoughts, expectations, and perceptions that come into play when it’s time for you to perform.

Maybe you automatically expect that you will under-perform and that the audience will judge you negatively. Or, that if your performance isn’t 100 percent perfect, then you’ll be judged as a total failure.

These thoughts and perceptions could be present even without any concrete evidence to support them. If you were bullied as a child, or if you had overcritical parents, then you might be more susceptible to such negative thought patterns.

How CBT works against stage fright

To get started, your therapist will learn as much as possible about you, and your challenges with performance anxiety.

Instead of thinking of a performance as one big event, they might ask you to think of it in smaller pieces. For example, you might only think about the part where you walk on stage, or when you play your first note.

The point of the exercise is to help you identify your thoughts associated with each smaller part of your performance. It will help you understand how your thoughts affect you emotionally, and how they might be contributing to your stress.

Once you’ve identified some of the problem areas, your therapist will recommend mental exercises to help replace those negative thoughts with more reasonable expectations. You might be asked to question your negative perceptions and to evaluate if they’re based on actual evidence.

Or, to think of reasons or past evidence that would suggest that an audience might actually enjoy and appreciate your performance.

As you go through the process of CBT, your therapist may recommend certain activities or even give you homework. He or she might encourage you to apply some of what you’re learning in real-life situations to start rewiring your brain in a different way.

Over time, the goal is to replace your negative thought patterns with positive ones, so you gain a new perception of performing for an audience, one which does not elicit a strong stress response and symptoms of stage fright.

CBT has been shown to be effective in treating a variety of anxiety disorders, especially in the long term when patients stick with the therapy [3][4].

One interesting thing to note about CBT is that it seems to work better if you’re actually enthusiastic about it, and if you believe it will work. So, if this sort of treatment doesn’t resonate with you, you should let your therapist know, so they can decide if CBT is right for you.

Yoga to improve how you handle stress and stage fright

The symptoms of stage fright are a direct result of your body’s reaction to a stressful situation.

Your negative expectations about your performance elicit a stress response from your body. Your adrenaline levels spike, your fight-or-flight mode is activated, and you start sweating profusely, and your blood pressure starts rising.

If you could train your body to learn how to better deal with stress, then you’d have a less severe stress-response, and your symptoms of stage fright would be less severe.

And that’s precisely what you can accomplish with yoga.

According to an article in Harvard Health, yoga can work as a natural anxiety relief by reducing the impact of an exaggerated stress response, which is precisely what causes stage fright [5].

Yoga trains your body to operate more in a state of calm. So, when there’s a stressful situation, you’re more habituated to breathing easier, keeping your heart rate steady, and your blood pressure stable.

Yoga has also been shown to increase your heart rate variability (HRV), which is the difference in the time interval between heartbeats. A higher HRV indicates your body’s increased ability to deal with stress [6].

A regular yoga practice will benefit you in many ways beyond your ability to deal with stage fright. But to combat performance anxiety specifically, consider including 15-20 minutes of yoga in your pre-performance routine (maybe an hour or so before you go on stage).

Relaxation techniques to reduce overall anxiety levels

Relaxation isn’t something you can force. When you start feeling anxious before your performance, if you try to force yourself to relax, you’ll most likely fail.

The fact that you can’t relax will end up adding to your stress, making your anxiety worse.

Instead, relaxation is about letting go and allowing a desired physiological state to happen. Meditation and belly-breathing are two relaxation techniques you may find beneficial to remain relaxed during a performance.

Relaxation Technique #1: Meditation

Meditation is a practice where you focus your mind on a specific thought or activity (like breathing) to increase awareness of yourself and your environment. It is also called a mindfulness practice.

It induces activity levels in the brain that are associated with calmness and relaxation. It creates a state of wakeful alertness, which has a calming effect on your entire mind and body.>/p>

Meditating before a performance will put you in a relaxed state overall, and you may find that you are more accepting of the audience’s reaction to your performance, whether it’s positive or negative.

You may find that when you let go, it will free you up in a way that elevates your performance. Your newfound confidence could have a positive effect on future performances, and it could become a positive cycle that eventually helps you overcome stage fright completely.

Research has shown that meditation can be effective when dealing with stress and anxiety [7].

Relaxation Technique #2: Belly breathing

Belly breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing, is the process of taking long breaths in and out of your stomach, instead of your chest. It is taught as a part of most meditation or relaxation techniques. Belly breathing can lower stress levels almost immediately [8], by shifting away from the part of the nervous system that activates the fight-or-flight response.

How GABA helps in the fight against performance anxiety

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a natural amino acid that functions as a neurotransmitter in your brain.

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers within your central nervous system that are responsible for a wide array of functions, both mental and physical.

The primary function of GABA is to act as an inhibitor [10]. It reduces brain activity by blocking specific signals. The reduction in brain activity can have a calming effect, which is beneficial to someone who experiences performance anxiety.

When you’re about to go on stage, you’d usually feel your heart rate skyrocket and your blood pressure rising. A boost in GABA in your brain would slow down your thoughts and weaken your stress response. It would allow you to remain calmer and more focused on the task at hand, which is to deliver a great performance for your audience.

Evidence shows that low levels of GABA have been associated with a higher risk of anxiety and stress. On the other hand, boosting GABA can help reduce stress and anxiousness [9].

GABA and alpha brain waves

One Japanese study also found that the oral administration of GABA increased alpha brain waves in test participants [11].

Alpha waves are a level of electrical activity in your brain (as shown in an EEG) that falls in the middle of the spectrum of brain waves. It’s a state where you’re awake but not super focused on any one thing.

Alpha waves are associated with a state of relaxation and reduced stress. Your brain responds to activities like meditation by producing alpha waves.

If you experience stage fright, you might benefit from increased alpha wave levels. Not only will it reduce anxiety, but it can also take your focus away from the negative thoughts about your performance.

Alpha waves are also associated with higher levels of creativity, according to one 2015 study from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill [12].

GABA is not widely available through dietary sources, except for some fermented foods like kimchi and miso. But GABA supplements are useful if you want to induce calmness and mental focus when it’s time to perform.

GABA supplements are most effective when they combine with a few other key ingredients to increase bioavailability and absorption in your body.

PerformZen promotes calmness and mental focus to combat stage fright

PerformZen is a natural supplement designed to help performers remain calm and relaxed when it’s time to get on stage and deliver for an audience.

Besides promoting calmness to reduce anxiety symptoms, PerfomZen also helps with mental focus so you can have the best of both worlds. You remain relaxed, but at the same time, you’re also mentally sharp so you can perform at the highest level.

PerformZen works primarily by boosting GABA levels in your brain. But as we mentioned in the previous section, GABA supplements work best when combined with other ingredients that make it easier for your body to absorb GABA.

Let’s look at the ingredients in PerformZen, and how they increase GABA levels and mental focus to help you remain calm and focused as you deliver your performance.

1. GABA

The primary ingredient to boost GABA, unsurprisingly, is GABA. Each serving of Performzen contains 300 mg of GABA.

According to one 2011 Japanese study, 100 mg GABA capsules improved calmness and cognitive performance in people who were stressed from performing mental tasks [13].

300 mg of GABA in PerformZen is an adequate dosage to induce calmness and improve mental performance for people who tend to experience stage fright.

2. L-theanine boosts GABA and promotes relaxation

L-theanine is an amino acid that is most commonly found in green, black, and oolong teas.

Evidence shows that L-theanine promotes relaxation without making you tired. It is responsible for the soothing effects of green tea.

One of the benefits of L-theanine in PerformZen is that it increases GABA levels in the brain. It also increases alpha brain waves to promote relaxation, and it reduces beta waves, which have been linked with stress [14].

L-theanine is becoming an increasingly popular supplement to help reduce stress and anxiety. Even Taylor Swift relies on L-theanine to help ease performance anxiety, according to an interview she did with Elle magazine.

Besides boosting GABA and promoting relaxation, L-theanine also improves focus, which can help you perform better when you’re under pressure [15].

According to a 2013 study, L-theanine helped a group of young adults improve cognitive performance and focus as they were performing challenging tasks [16].

3. Magnesium, a natural relaxant

Magnesium is one of the most critical minerals for the optimal functioning of the human body. It is involved in hundreds of biochemical processes, including energy creation, protein formation, muscle movements, and more.

A large portion of the population doesn’t get enough magnesium from dietary sources, mostly due to the lack of fruits and vegetables in the standard western diets.

One of the benefits of PerformZen is that each serving comes with 50% of your daily magnesium requirements. But that’s only an added benefit.

The real benefit of magnesium in PerformZen is that it facilitates better absorption of GABA.

GABA and L-theanine in PerformZen will increase GABA levels in your body. But for GABA to be most effective, your body needs to absorb it efficiently. Magnesium stimulates certain receptors which makes it easier to absorb GABA, so you can feel a more potent effect when it matters most [17].

But that’s not all. There’s another role that magnesium plays in PerformZen when it combines with a separate ingredient, vitamin B6.

4. Vitamin B6 and magnesium to improve focus

When combined together, vitamin B6 and magnesium can help you focus more on the task at hand, which is your performance, instead of getting distracted by counterproductive thoughts.

Evidence shows that vitamin B6 and magnesium can help children with ADHD improve their behavior [18]. Although the research was conducted with kids with ADHD, the improvement in focus would also benefit those with stage fright.

Additionally, vitamin B6 helps naturally synthesize GABA within your body, and low levels of B6 has been linked with increased stress levels [19].

5. Theacrine, the benefits of coffee without the jitters

Theacrine is a naturally occurring substance found in a Chinese tea known as Kucha.

When you take PerformZen before you’re about to go on stage, Theacrine will provide a clean energy boost. It may feel similar to caffeine but without the jittery ups and downs.

Along with GABA, L-theanine, and the combination of magnesium and B6, theacrine is another ingredient in PerformZen that will improve cognitive performance to help you perform at your best [20].

6. Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba is traditionally used for healing purposes in Chinese medicine. It is a herb rich in antioxidants that has various benefits for brain health.

Evidence shows that Ginkgo Biloba can help you manage your stress hormone levels, which keeps your fight-or-flight response under control and prevents the symptoms of performance anxiety [21].

All combined, PerformZen is a potent formula when it comes to fighting performance anxiety. As a natural supplement, it promotes calmness, focus, and optimal cognitive performance.

Final thoughts on overcoming stage fright

If you feel like performance anxiety has been holding you back from becoming the performer that you’re meant to be, you should know that you can definitely overcome stage fright.

Depending on the severity and cause of your performance anxiety, your specific treatment, and the time it takes, will vary. Your therapist can evaluate your particular situation and recommend a plan accordingly.

But no matter the reason or severity of your stage fright, you can benefit from natural remedies like yoga and relaxation techniques. If you train your body to relax and reduce stress, then it will be better equipped to deal with symptoms of performance anxiety when its time to get on stage.

And be sure to check out PerformZen Calm Performance Formula. It will provide your body with the additional support of natural ingredients to boost calmness and focus, so you can perform at an optimal level.

Agnit is a performance expert and the lead writer for PerformZen. As an avid health and fitness enthusiast, he is passionate about helping people take control of their health to live happier, more productive lives. Someday, he plans to listen to his own advice and drink less coffee.

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