June. Love is in the air. Wedding bells are ringing! Have you ever wished you could have expressed your feelings to the groom and bride with a toast at a wedding you were at, but the thought of speaking publicly glued you to your seat instead?
You’re not alone! Did you know that fear of public speaking is America’s biggest phobia? This phobia can real consequences in a world like ours, where our careers, or the pursuit of our dreams and ambitions, may sometimes call for us to speak publicly. So what does it mean when we have this common phobia? And what can we do about it?
Fears, phobias, anxieties & stresses in life ALL stem from limiting, negative beliefs about the self. They often appear as thoughts that we are inherently defective (ex: “I am not good enough”), self-blame (ex: “I should have done more”), not feeling safe (ex: “I can’t trust anyone”) or that we have no control over our lives (“I am not in control”). They are kept stationed in our minds by memories that often go as far back as our childhood or adolescence. What happens is that, when we acquired those beliefs, they were useful and protected us, but now, in the present, they hold us back.
For something concrete like stage fright or fear of public speaking, the root of the problem lies in those earlier life experiences, that have conditioned us to believe we are unable to perform well in those types of situations. Maybe you had an embarrassing moment in a school play in middle school when someone made a mean comment that stays with you to this day; or maybe you simply hold one of the above-mentioned negative, limiting beliefs, and it bleeds into this specific area of your life, i.e. performance anxiety. Dwelling on why you have the fear, however, won’t always help to change anything, because the subconscious mind will silence you before you even realize it. Self Empowered Minds’ Hypnotherapy in New York City gets to the root of the cause and then re-teaches the subconscious mind to see the experience through a different experience or perspective. With hypnosis sessions, you are gaining the awareness of the “why” and then creating new neuro pathways of positive, confident thoughts.
The exciting news is that those limiting memories can be processed, and we can reap the positive effects of no longer being held back by them. Here’s an easy exercise to try out to get an introduction to the resolution of this phobia:
- – It’s simple meditation exercise that you can experience right now. Put your phone or any other distractions around you away, and find a quiet place. If you are comfortable with breathing, play with your breath a little bit here; inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 4 seconds, and finally exhale for 4 seconds. If you don’t feel comfortable using your breath, no worries! That’s completely normal, and the exercise will still be helpful for you regardless. The first step is to quiet your mind. When we focus on one thing such as our breathing, our minds immediately begin to quiet down. If focusing on your breathing is not comfortable, focus on the touch of your pointer fingers touching your thumbs or focus on the flame of a candle or the stroking of a pet. Should your mind drift, just recognize that it has drifted and return back to the focal point.
- – Now recall a positive memory from your past. It could be speaking to just one person. Recall how they listened to you and how you enjoyed sharing your experience, knowledge or wisdom with them. Feels good, doesn’t it? Now imagine there is one other person there. Continue to see yourself speaking and seeing both these people listening in the same way. Continue to build your audience building it one person at a time and only adding another when you are completely comfortable.
- – Now as the last ingredient: think of a mantra, a phrase or sentence that makes you feel good about yourself. It could be “I am powerful, I am strong”; “I am loved”; “I am OK as I am” or simply “I am”. The point is to make it your own, and that it feels real and uplifting to you. Continue to see your audience and repeat the mantra to yourself. If you’re doing it with the breathwork, say it aloud or in your head after exhaling.
- – Visit our YouTube channel on Keeping Focus where we demonstrate some useful tools that help with public speaking
I wonder if you notice a change in how you feel? Our minds and bodies are capable of incredible changes! When we accumulate small, incremental, positive changes, we are capable of amazing things.