For anyone who has experienced performance anxiety or stage fright the advice to ‘get over it’ or simply ignore it might be insulting to say the least. Stage Fright (Performance Anxiety) is a real and debilitating problem that hinders the success of far to many people. The concept of conquering it seems inconceivable.
But, there may be hope in terms of trying to manage it. Recent studies have shown that a change of attitude towards stressful situations can have behavioral and physical benefits.
Kelly McGonigal says that “when you change your mind about stress you can change your bodies response to stress”. In her Ted Talk she references a Harvard study that says participants in a study who (with training) viewed their stress response as helpful to their performance not only improved their performance but reduced harmful blood vessel constriction that occurs when the heart rate increases.
In the case of Stage Fright (Performance Anxiety) the mental component is crucial to moving towards overcoming the problem. It now appears that not only will a better attitude improve performance Ms. McGonigal says it may save your life.