Exposure therapy for performance anxiety in musical theatre

Exposure therapy for performance anxiety in musical theatre

In a previous blog post we discussed performance anxiety in musical theatre settings, otherwise known as stage fright, along with the symptoms of anxiety and a few initial steps to work toward reducing it. In order to grow past performance anxiety over the long run, you must expose yourself - you must perform, perform, perform, and this is known as exposure therapy. However, there is an art to exposing yourself to your fears and it should be done  in careful, small, planned doses. Where many people go wrong is exposing themselves into a high stakes performance with no build up, which usually results negatively and makes future performance anxiety even worse. Exposure will be most effective and fun for you in small steps that gradually lead up to a major milestone.

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Performance anxiety in musical theatre settings

Performance anxiety in musical theatre settings

Most people have experienced some level of anxiety before, during, and/or after a performance of some sort. Those performances may include traditional performing arts such as dance, theatre, or music, or a wide range of other experiences that create similar circumstances such as public speaking, corporate presentations, sales, teaching, sports, or test taking. You might be uncomfortable, but have no idea what’s happening to you or how to solve it. Additionally, it is not uncommon for people who experience performance anxiety to also experience generalized anxiety symptoms in their professional life, home life, relationships, and basic day-to-day situations. 

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