Sudden Onset Nerves How to Stop Them Before They Start
Do nerves seem to creep up on you at the most inopportune time during auditions? If so, you'll want to read this.
Your mind is singular focused.
Your meditation techniques are working.
Uh oh, they just called your name.
You stand up and get ready to walk into the room.
As you walk in, you think to yourself, “Hey, I’m OK. I’m doing fine!”
You greet the casting director and everything seems nice and dandy.
You slate and begin to transition into character.
It’s happening again.
Suddenly your hands start to sweat and your mouth goes dry.
For a split second, you almost want to break character to say, “Can I have a glass of water?”
But you stop yourself.
No, that would be unprofessional.
You focus, and begin your audition… wishing your body would just STOP DOING THIS.
Why do people keep saying, "It's normal to have audition nerves?"
Has that experience ever happened to you?
Those sudden onset nerves that come right at the very moment when you transition into character?
It’s like everything you learn online or through your friends about breathing techniques and "Using your nerves to your advantage!" feels like it helps… until that singular moment.
It's like everything you learned just flies right out the window.
You’ve been doing this for years, so why is it that suddenly all these weird reactions (like sudden sweating and shaky hands) start happening???
Well, I used to be a part of this networking group called BNI.
Every Wednesday morning we’d be in a huge catering hall, having to talk to a large group of 100 people about our businesses.
I remember sitting there, watching as people sitting down the table from me took their turn, and it was getting closer and closer to being my turn.
As it came closer to being my turn to stand up in front of everyone, I’d feel that same, uncomfortable nervousnesses – butterflies in my chest and my hands would start shaking.
I hated it because normally I’m a super confident, relaxed person! I don’t have a fear of public speaking, so why is it that I’d always feel this way???
Well, after months of dealing with this and always slightly messing up when it came my turn to speak, I decided to do deep research.
I spent months reading about psychology and the hacks I could use to get rid of that nervousness feeling, and I eventually came across one that actually WORKED.
The first time I tried it was like magic.
When I used this hack, I felt ZERO nervousness for the first time ever.
I remember as it came closer and closer to being my turn to speak, all I felt was calm and strength.
And it was AWESOME.
There were no feelings of nervousness whatsoever.
So how did I do it? By using something called an Anchor.
An anchor is a psychology term that basically means a stimulus that creates an automatic reaction in your body.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say you recently lost a close family member.
At the wake, a number of people come up to you and say, “I’m so sorry,” and they pat you on the right shoulder as they walk by.
Well, if this happens a few times and you’re feeling extremely sad, your body will unconsciously create an anchor.
Now let’s say a few months later you’re in a great mood, hanging out at a friends house for a party.
As you’re sitting there, a good friend comes up and pats you in the exact same way, on your right shoulder.
And suddenly, without being sure why, you start to feel down and sad, but you have no idea why!
Well, that’s because your body created an anchor and that specific tap on your right shoulder is now linked to feeling sad – even if you are not conscious of it!
Anchors explain why sometimes you might hear an old song and suddenly be brought back to your high school prom.
Or why the smell of an old cologne or perfume can suddenly bring back a feeling of joy or a memory of a long time ago.
We’re creating anchors all the time, but we’re not conscious of them.
Well, that day at BNI, I consciously took control of my anchors.
I deliberately created an anchor to put myself in a strong and calm state, and I used it to instantly command the room and give one of the best talks about my business I ever had.
How to Create Your Own Anchor
So are you curious how to create your own anchor? If so, let’s get started.
Step 1:You should be sitting, so find a seat that’s comfortable because this is going to take about 10 minutes.
Step 2: Figure out what specific emotion you WANT to feel on command. What would be helpful for you to audition better? A sense of calm? A sense of happiness? Confidence? Come up with a key emotion you want to focus on.
Step 3: Figure out your anchor. Where on your body do you want to create the anchor? I recommend picking a place that’s unlikely to get triggered by accident. I created mine by squeezing the skin right between my pinky and ring finger on my left hand.
Step 4: Once you’ve decided where you’ll create the anchor, it’s time to actually create the anchor! To do this, you’ll want to think of a time where you felt extremely confident/relaxed/calm/etc., whatever emotion it is that you’re wanting to access.
Step 5:Now that you have a memory in mind, it’s time to go back there. What you’re going to do is think about that memory and really feel the emotion as strongly as you can. Right as you get to the peak of the experience and are feeling the emotion SUPER STRONG, I want you to squeeze or touch whatever anchor it is that you’ve decided on. So in my case, as I felt really strong and calm, I squeezed right between those two fingers.
Step 6: Repeat this process about 5 times, each time waiting until you’re feeling the emotion super strong.
Step 7: Now that you’ve anchored the emotion into your body, it’s time to test it. Relax your body completely. Perhaps if you want to test it even more, try imagining that moment when you’re about to start your audition and the nervousness is coming up for you. As you start to get nervous and your hands start to sweat, go ahead and give that spot between your pinky and ring finger a squeeze (or wherever you created your anchor). What happened? Did you suddenly get calm and confident (or whatever emotion you wanted)? If so, your anchor works!! Congratulations.
Step 8: If it didn’t work, it means you probably need to go back and reprogram the anchor a few more times. Really think about and feel the emotion and be sure you’re at the peak of the experience before you squeeze your anchor. And of course be sure you’re doing the EXACT same squeeze or stimulation to that point on your body EVERY time. If it’s slightly different each time it won’t work.
Well congratulations, you’ve just used an “outside the industry” hack to cure your audition nervousness!
Now, next time you’re about to go into character, instead of having to specifically go deep and use up your mental energy trying to relax and getting into character, you can just use your anchor, and you’ll INSTANTANEOUSLY go there, and your nervousness will disappear.
If you’ve found this article helpful, leave a comment below telling me your story!