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Overcoming Performance Anxiety With Neuro Linguistic Programming

Apr 1, 2008
Learn how to overcome performance anxiety using the Neurolinguistic Programming technique of anchoring.

During NLP training here in New York we teach Neuro Linguistic Programming techniques that can help over come performance anxiety, deal with stage fright and move you to achieving your peak state and giving the performance of a lifetime. Anchoring is just one of tools we at the International Center for Positive Change and Hypnosis offer to help performers deal with stage fright.

Anchoring, put very simply, is attaching a certain behavior or state to a certain stimulus or trigger. Anchoring is not a new phenomenon or trick, we anchor things all the time and are probably quite unaware of doing so. Perhaps the smell of freshly baked muffins takes you right back to your grandmother's kitchen, or hearing a certain song on the radio instantly reminds you of your first dance with someone you love. These are both strong anchors, a trigger (the song) leads to a certain feeling/state or behavior (the good feelings associated with the first dance).

Stage fright is something that many performers have to deal with at some point in their career. Whether auditioning, performing at conservatory recitals, singing for a new teacher or for friends, performance anxiety can manifest itself in many ways and in a variety of situations. As a singer I understand the crippling effect that nerves can bring to a performer. The shaking knees, uncontrollable butterflies, shallow breathing etc, the awful feeling of being unable to control these physical manifestations and the sensation of being caught in a decline where performance gets worse and worse spiraling towards a crash and burn moment. Uugghh.....

That was how I was and yet I knew how I wanted to be. I wanted to feel calm and to be full of self-confidence, to see myself succeeding and to hear my voice ringing out with joy.

Anchoring is one of the NLP techniques I learned and now teach to my clients to assist them in achieving their peak performance at NLP Training in New York.

There are a number of different types of anchor and the one I find most useful personally is a self-anchor that I placed on my thumb. As an opera singer I knew that to squeeze my left thumb, even in mid performance, would be effective and not seen by the audience.

To create a positive self anchor:

*Select one place on your body that you can touch easily. (Grasping the wrist, pressing one specific knuckle, pinching the thumb and fore finger are all good suggestions and easy to remember). Be precise and specific about where you want to place your anchor.

*Sit quietly for a moment and begin to think about exactly how you would like to be when performing

*Once you have selected a positive resource (self confidence or calm or joy etc), think of a time when you experienced this resource. It doesn't have to be a performance, just a time when you really experienced this.

*Step into this experience and feel it totally and fully, see what you saw, hear what your heard and feel what you felt. Make the picture bigger and brighter, the sounds in stereo or louder. If these changes are helpful and increase the sensation in a positive way then keep them...if it was better the way it was then go back to that.

*Once the sensation is reaching it's peak... fire the anchor (remember that's the self anchor you decided upon ...grasping your wrist, pinching your thumb and fore finger in exactly the same place and with the same amount of pressure) letting go of your anchor as the sensation subsides.

*Now think of something completely different... a pink giraffe, the smell of popcorn...anything!!!

*Now think of a time in the past when you were performing. Imagine it in your minds eye. Step into this ... see what you see, hear what you hear and feel what you feel. When you are ready fire your self-anchor and notice how it is different NOW!

*This time think a future performance. Allow your imagination to come up with time if you need. Step into this performance, see what you see, hear what you hear and feel what you feel. Fire your self- anchor and notice how it is different NOW!

Keep practicing and trying out your new self anchor in as many created and past performance situations as you wish. Remember it is very important to fire the anchor in precisely the same place on your hand /wrist/ finger and with the same amount of pressure each time. The more you practice the easier it will become.

Now you have anchored your success, and a sure fire way to access your peak performance is at your fingertips!
About the Author
Sarah Carson is a Director of the International Center for Positive Change and Hypnosis in New York City. http://www.nlptrainingnewyork.com performance anxiety nlp what is nlp
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