Standing there my heart felt as if it was going to burst out of my chest, I was literally shaking, my voice all wobbly when my mind went completely blank. I was standing in front of a room full of people, expected to talk about a subject I knew inside out, except I couldn’t, as my fear of public speaking was getting the better of me. This irrational fear was impacting my career as I couldn’t express myself effectively and as a result my confidence was being affected. Thinking back I still cringe at the memory.
These feelings may be familiar to you as studies show that fear of public speaking is one of the most common phobias in the U.K. and you may be surprised to hear that Winston Churchill and Steve Jobs were known to have a fear of public speaking early on in their careers.
Fear of public speaking is a social phobia otherwise known as performance anxiety and is simply a fear of being judged. Quite often the ‘fight or flight’ response takes over, where the body reacts as if we are in real danger and literally prepares us to fight, flight or flee. Your heart rate increases, your lungs dilate so your breathing increases, there is a decrease in digestive activity and the liver releases glucose for energy.
If a fear of public speaking is getting in your way, there is good news. Hypnotherapy has been found to be extremely effective in helping people with performance anxiety. I know this from my own experience. I now speak regularly in front of groups of people, the fear I once felt a distant memory.
It is only with hindsight that I now realise how performance anxiety was affecting other areas of my life. My inability to play the piano during lessons, being sick before exams, my total creative block when developing the final project for my degree. Performance anxiety affects musicians, actors, singers, golfers (the yips), to name but a few.
I am passionate about helping clients overcome performance anxiety, knowing how debilitating it can be. If you would like to know more about Cognitive Hypnotherapy and how it can help you overcome a fear of public speaking, exam nerves, the yips or any area of public performance, please contact me to book your free telephone consultation.