Performance Anxiety: Deconstructed

By Aarav Khunger


As teenagers, we tend to involve ourselves in multiple activities and really push our limits. For some, this might mean performing in front of an audience—an amazing experience that can add to one’s communication and presentation skills but can also be very thrilling and frightening. “Stage fright” affects many students, especially when doing it for the first time. In this article, we will discuss how to be more proficient in handling the stress of performance.


First, let me start off by saying I have given many performances and speeches on stage, and there have been times where I was completely terrified. My breath was heavy and butterflies filled my stomach. This temporary feeling happens to almost every performer but the more we get out on the stage, the better we will become.


Being nervous means adrenaline and cortisol is released as a form of stress in our bodies. Our muscles tense and our heart rate picks up. All of this can lead to a traumatizing experience onstage. Luckily, there are ways to prevent this from happening.


The secret for not being nervous on stage is practice: with greater experience, we become more comfortable with facing our audiences and handling ourselves on stage. Building confidence can be achieved through numerous methods whether it's practicing in front of a mirror or performing in front of friends/loved ones. Getting honest feedback is also critical, making the improvement process easier.


Being mindful of our bodies can also work wonders. Relaxing ourselves before stepping on can help set up a positive mindset and increase your confidence.


Ultimately, if all else fails, try to have fun! Think of any experience as one designed to make yourself learn and perform better the next time.