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Reframe Anxiety

 

Techniques Public speaking > Preparing Yourself > Reframe Anxiety

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

If you are feeling anxious, think about a time when you were actually feeling excited about something. You may well find that the physical feelings were very similar -- tingling body, tension in the abdomen and so on.

If you identify the exact thoughts that are causing anxiety you can reframe these. For example if you fear being judged, imagine the audience themselves being on your side, anxious to learn and for you to succeed. See them worried and encouraging. Feel their warmth.

In this way you can turn the negative energy of anxiety and fear into the invigorating energy of excitement. Feel the talk pulling you in. Imagine the people loving you and what you have to say. Think of being amongst good friends.

Example

I am waiting in the wings for my turn to speak when I have a bit of a panic attack. I force myself to smile as I peer out at the audience, focusing on one nice-looking person and know how they will appreciate me and I will so appreciate them. I spread the warmth I feel through my body and out to everyone, making it all 'we'...

Discussion

In the Two-Factor Theory of Emotion, we deduce our emotion from what we physically feel. This means physical feelings that are similar for different emotions can be misunderstood. This method deliberately uses this effect to nudge the subconscious into reinterpreting and recreating our emotional self-interpretation.

It is also true that anxiety leads to arousal can easily be perceived as pleasurable stimulation. Why else do we go to horror movies or engage in dangerous sports?

Anxiety about speaking is sometimes called Communication Apprehension (CA).

See also

Two-Factor Theory of Emotion, Reframing

 

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