Counseling for Public Speaking Anxiety

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Public speaking anxiety is normal. It's one of the most commonly shared fears. If you deal with social anxiety, however, having to speak in front of others can feel like a death sentence.

Public speaking anxiety impacts in 3 ways:

  • Before - This is usually the most intense and is filled with "What if" and "Catastrophizing" thinking, over preparation, and lack of sleep.
  • During - Though this can get to the level of panic, it doesn't always get to this level. Often times it's hard to remember the speech itself. A sort of blackout.
  • After - Even when we feel good about the speech immediately after, it can quickly turn into finding things to worry about or beat ourselves up about.

Public speaking anxiety is also accompanied by uncomfortable body sensations:

  • Racing heart
  • Shallow and quick breathing
  • Stomach pain
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Tunnel vision
  • Foggy mind

Anxiety also creates a busy and overactive mind: The anxious mind ignores the present moment and comes up with and latches on to all types of creative, anxiety-inducing thoughts

  • "What if I cry on stage"
  • "What I go blank and have to run off stage"
  • "What if others notice I'm nervous"

Anxiety also urges us to avoid "danger" and engage in reassurance-seeking behavior: The anxious mind urges us to seek "safety:" call in sick, have a colleague on stage with us, read directly from the PowerPoint, don't use a microphone... 

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Counseling for Public Speaking Anxiety

Image

Public speaking anxiety is normal. It's one of the most commonly shared fears. If you deal with social anxiety, however, having to speak in front of others can feel like a death sentence.

Public speaking anxiety impacts in 3 ways:

  • Before - This is usually the most intense and is filled with "What if" and "Catastrophizing" thinking, over preparation, and lack of sleep.
  • During - Though this can get to the level of panic, it doesn't always get to this level. Often times it's hard to remember the speech itself. A sort of blackout.
  • After - Even when we feel good about the speech immediately after, it can quickly turn into finding things to worry about or beat ourselves up about.

Public speaking anxiety is also accompanied by uncomfortable body sensations:

  • Racing heart
  • Shallow and quick breathing
  • Stomach pain
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Tunnel vision
  • Foggy mind

Anxiety also creates a busy and overactive mind: The anxious mind ignores the present moment and comes up with and latches on to all types of creative, anxiety-inducing thoughts

  • "What if I cry on stage"
  • "What I go blank and have to run off stage"
  • "What if others notice I'm nervous"

Anxiety also urges us to avoid "danger" and engage in reassurance-seeking behavior: The anxious mind urges us to seek "safety:" call in sick, have a colleague on stage with us, read directly from the PowerPoint, don't use a microphone...