Excellent natural solutions to stage fright and performance anxiety
Even after 20 years of singing Opera internationally, I still am amazed at the power of “nerves”. More often than not, I feel as though the only thing I ever worry about anymore is how to relax and enjoy myself. As performers, speakers and presenters we are constantly put in positions of having to be “on”.
This means we need to appear totally relaxed and at ease, but at the same time need to be fully energized so that our voice can get up and out of our body when we need it to. This is no easy task. The balance is what truly great performers or speakers have achieved. I have spent many years experimenting, researching and ultimately using herbs, supplements and diet to successfully achieve this balance.
I would like to share with you some very easy and effective ways I have found that work, while having no negative effects on the voice, throat or body, which may help you find the right balance for yourself. A good quality calming agent for the nerves is not easy to find because we need to stay alert and have access to our energy. There are some excellent natural alternatives you can take to achieve this balance.
1. L-Theanine- L-Theanine is found in green tea. It is extracted and put into a capsule or tablet form. It creates a sense of relaxation in approximately 30-40 minutes after you take it. L-theanine also has a significant effect on the release or reduction of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, resulting in improved memory and learning ability. Taken in appropriate doses, it does not make you tired or drowsy the way a pharmaceutical drug will. You can find it in various dosage levels and it can be bought without a prescription.
2. Borage Oil- Borage oil is very rich in GLA, gamma linolenic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid. When taken orally it produces more of an overall body feeling. It does not have the same effect in the brain as Theanine, instead it calms the body. It has been known for centuries as the “feel good” plant due to it’s calming effects. When taken as a tea, it has the same effect as well as an added bonus; it helps to clear phlegm from the throat and lungs.
3. Gaba- Gaba or “gamma amino butyric acid” is an amino acid found in the brain that is essential for the proper function of your brain and the central nervous system. It has the effect of reducing excessive brain activity and promoting a state of calm, helping to ease anxiety. I have found it to be extremely effective at helping me to relax and clam down without affecting my performance energy. I take it daily especially when I know I have a coaching, lesson, performance or audition.
As voice professionals we need to keep our mind, body, throat and voice as healthy as possible ALL THE TIME! This is not a game we are playing. We cannot afford to call in sick. Our health and especially our vocal health needs to be the number one priority in our lives.
When adding new supplements to your diet, check with your doctor to see if there are conflicts with any medication you may be taking and always follow suggested dosage guidelines.
Good luck and as always, I wish you the best on your quest for Superior Vocal Health.
David Aaron Katz