If an individual with inherent stage fear has to speak or perform in front of an audience, it could cause stress. This might even help them focus and do well. At the end of the show, this stress eases away for most people.
However, some people feel the lingering effects of that stress much after the event and this is called anxiety. In some cases it is so severe that it leads to reactions such as headaches, nightmares and chest pains.
In other words when severe stress arises in situations that generally don’t pose a real threat, it is referred to as an anxiety.
People suffering from anxiety disorders have trouble doing routine work such as leaving the house, talking to a stranger in a party or driving a car. Anxiety about everyday things is referred to as Generalized Anxiety disorder.
It is characterized by edginess, chronic fatigue, irritability, lack of focus, insomnia and muscular tension. Such people would struggle to calm themselves and often struggle to contain the escalation of thoughts.
For few people the fear or worry is constant and overwhelming, and can be disabling. They tend to treat everything as the “Worst Case Scenario” even if the rational brain knows everything will be fine.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 13 globally suffers from anxiety. The WHO reports that anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders worldwide with specific phobia, major depressive disorder and social phobia being the most common anxiety disorders.
How to cope with anxiety
1) Practice deep breathing. Focusing on the breath would instantly calm your body down and reduce stress levels steadily.
2)Exercise is vital and use it as an escape from the stress caused by everyday life. A stronger body can house a stronger mind.
3)Improve your posture. The body has a tendency to protect our heart and lungs by hunching over when an uncomfortable situation crops up. Stand or sit up straight, pull your shoulders back, be open chested to exude confidence. Keep checking on your posture regularly.
4) Try telling yourself that you are in control of life and approach everything you do with purpose. Assuming that nothing external can affect your performance could help in focus and shut out noise.
5) If there are specific triggers such as an addiction, an activity or even people, avoid them to limit your exposure to such triggers.
6) Hibiscus tea, green tea and Ashwagandha supplements are great calming agents and puts your mind to great ease. Cutting down on smoking and caffeine would definitely help.
7) Be organised. Use structured problem solving to deal with stressors
8)Remember not to wallow on your past mistakes and forgive yourself.
9) Try listening to soothing music or find an aroma that calms you down. Keep them accessible at all times.
10) Last but not the least, tell yourself that your contribution is equally important to an organization, society or even your own family. This is important to remember to maintain a healthy self-esteem and to constantly be reminded of our purpose.