We’ve all encountered stressful situations, ones that make us nervous. It can be as simple as going to a new place, and the uncertainty of the new location may be enough to trigger of a range of reactions that we normally encounter when we are nervous. Nervousness and anxiety could manifest themselves through cold sweat, sweaty palms, increased heart rate, shortness of breath – in fact, did you know that is why actors get nervous fluff lines that they have regularly rehearsed and know by heart. Away from the cameras, all is fine, but turn up the pressure, and mistakes occur due to nervousness.
We could define anxiety as the body’s response to unfamiliar stimuli. When you are in a new situation, such as in a place you are unfamiliar with, you get a heightened sense of tension that comes from the natural flight or fight response ingrained within you. It is part of our genetic makeup as living beings.
Living beings all have a flight or fight response. Correction, thinking living beings have this response. It is the system that makes us cautious, that gives us the ability to assess situations, in order that we might survive. Without this, we would wander blissfully into dangerous situations. And anxiety is the heightened response that comes with it.
If you had to face a group of strangers on your own, would you get nervous? This is the situation, for example, that musicians have to face, particularly if they were a soloist on stage and walking up to face the orchestra and the audience. It would be like being on show while walking into the lion’s den! Soloists playing a concerto would have had to cope with their anxiety while being on show, which would normally push anxieties to the fore and interfere with performance. You can find out more about music performance from the Muswell Hill Piano Teachers website.
What can you do if you get nervous and find it interfering with your life? One of the things you can do is to establish control, which gives us power. Recognise you can choose your reactions if you know how. Secondly, understand that anxiety is all part of your body’s way of alerting you to new experiences. And thirdly, if you feel nervous, know that it is just simply because the experience you have is new, and you have not had enough of it yet to be less reactive to it – but you will in time. And that sense of control will make your anxiety go away in time.