You are about to walk on stage to perform in front of an important audience. Feeling anxious? Why?

It starts with a cascade of chemical reactions that trigger your autonomic nervous system.

Your heartbeat quickens, your breath rate increases, your digestive system shuts down, and blood shifts to the muscles in your arms and legs.

Your body is preparing to ‘fight’ or ‘flee’.

The first sound out of your mouth is your voice cracking. You are experiencing performance anxiety which happens when you want to perform at your best but feel stressed about your ability to do so.

The brain activity in your prefrontal cortex – which is used for decision making and problem solving – is interfering with unhelpful thoughts that are preventing you from carrying out your well rehearsed presentation.

So how can we get out of our own way in situations like these?

What you may not know is that there are simple, actionable techniques we can all learn to get out of our own way when they arise.

To begin, we can learn to improve our interoceptive awareness, which is our ability to simply “perceive within”.  This enhances our awareness of butterflies, tingling or more obvious sensations like anxiety in our chest. The more we can experience them in real time, the greater our ability to self-regulate and be resilient. It is about being present to all of our experiences in the moment.

You might be thinking that being open to everything that is going on is counter-intuitive when we need to be more focused. But the truth is that it is only by letting go and letting be that we learn to trust ourselves in the moment, to fully show up for our most outstanding performances.

This week, during the mindful performance enhancement certificate (mPEAK) course, we covered this topic and began training our capacity for mindfulness in the face of such stress.

Enquire if you want to bring this training to your team or workplace.