You are sitting, waiting for your turn to deliver am important speech. Its almost your time. You haven’t heard the person who is speaking before you because you have been anxiously worrying about what can go wrong when its your turn.
In your imagination you have worried you will forget what you need to say. You have imagined your audience thinking you are an idiot. You have imagined that you will blurt incoherent nonsense. You are putting on a brave face but you have even thought about running out of the room.
Mean while, you can feel your heart racing. You suspect that you are going red in the face and you can feel your sweaty hands shaking uncontrollably. You are wondering what people will think as your blood pressure increases. Now its your time to speak.
If some of that feels familiar then its safe to say there is a problem when it comes to group or public speaking. It is far more common that most people realise and the good news is it doesn’t have to be that way. It can actually be an enjoyable experience and Newcastle hypnotherapy can lead towards this.
The Disproportionate Stress Response to Public Speaking
Heart beat quickening, sweaty hands, dry throat and increased blood pressure all all physical signs your body is reacting to a stressor. This is a normal response to a dangerous situation. Being chased by rabid wolves should produce such a response by way of running away or even fighting a wolf away.
But most of the time if not all of the time you are not in any physical danger when doing public speaking. Knowing a little about what is happening neuro-biologically during a stress response is useful in understanding what is happening.
When there is ( perceived ) danger to life it makes sense to have the potential to save it. This is classically know as freeze, flight and fight. In order to do this there are some amazing things the human body does.
Within just over a second of experiencing a stressor your adrenal glands and your sympathetic nervous system have released adrenaline into your blood and to many of the major organs in the body.
Your heart pumps faster, your eyes dilate and you stop digesting food. You lungs open up more for extra oxygen. This is you sympathetic nervous system in action.
In a few seconds more your blood is deluged with glucocorticoids which facilitate having much more glucose in your blood to supply extra energy to your muscles. But wait! This is about public speaking, not escaping from wolves.
Creating the Experience of a Major Stressor from Thoughts
One of the useful things we humans can do with thoughts is we can worry and obsess about what can go wrong. This is actually very useful as this is how we can avoid such problems planning strategies that serve us well.
Anxiety can be defined as obsessive worrying about the future that has physiological negative consequences. Its normal to worry about ‘bad events’ as we generally perceive potential losses far more negatively than potential gains for an equivalent loss and gain. And in general it takes more positive experiences to cancel out just one bad one.
So by just entertaining the possibility that a speech can go horribly wrong with lots of negative consequences can activate our stress response. With a good imagination, imagining the worst our body ends up preparing our flight or fight mode. This in a nutshell is the experience of public speaking anxiety.
And its not just a one way system of thoughts creating your physical experience of anxiety. When the body is feeling anxious this gives the very real physical experience of danger which feeds back into your thoughts and makes it worse.
Learning and Unlearning Habits with Hypnotherapy for Public Speaking
We all have a huge and complex series of habits that we have learned through repetition to use unconsciously and for the most part make life good. Worrying and become anxious about public speaking is a habit. This may have been triggered by one lousy presentation or something that has just happened for a long time.
Some good news is habits are changeable and ones that impact negatively can be unlearned and replaced with more appropriate ones. A physiological stress response in a public speaking context is something your body has learned to do and this model can explains symptoms like phobias or fear of dentists.
Now, assuming you know the content of your talks and presentations, I believe I can help you change your experience and feelings towards public speaking.
Using a variety of exercises along with hypnotherapy and genuine commitment from yourself, you could actually enjoy public speaking or simply do it without the stress, worry and anxiety. Changes such as this will make your life easier.
Consultations are free and last up to 25 minutes. Please call to arrange a consultation to discover how I can help. 0770 481 8467
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