Healing the Mind & Body Split of Stage Fright and Fear of Speaking

“The split between the mind and body is one of the most painful things we face.”

– Carla Bazemore – Founder, Yoga Lotus

Carla, my yoga teacher, reminded me that the split between the mind and body causes us humans much difficulty. It is this same kind of mind/body split that makes public speaking, presenting and performing so painful for some of us.

People with stage fright don’t know how to stay present and whole when they become the center of attention. They have simply not learned how to relax into the excitement that is stirred in their bodies when they speak or perform in front of others. Instead of allowing themselves to feel the sensations as a part of the whole experience of presenting, they tighten up their bodies to fight against the natural flow of excitement energy. The result is the mind/body split known as “going into your head.”

“Going into the head” is an apt description of how one unconsciously adjusts in order to avoid the intensity of sensations and emotions generated when all eyes are on you. Rather than experience the feelings, you draw most of your attention up into your head. When your head is flooded with energy, you can’t think clearly. Your mind freezes and you don’t have access to all that you know.

Once you understand the nature of this split, you can actively work to heal it so that you can stay whole and present during the times you are presenting. The secret to healing the split is exactly what Carla Bazemore and other yoga practitioners know – reconnect the mind and body. In yoga classes, people learn to keep their minds focused in their bodies during intense stretches and exercises. Yoga teaches people to breathe into a physical pose that stresses the body so they stay calm even though the body is experiencing intensity.

The Zimmer Method for transforming stage fright and fear of speaking is kind of like yoga for speakers and performers. It guides you to relax deeply into your body when you are stressed by being the center of attention. It helps to mitigate the tendency to go into your head, teaching you to ground your awareness in your body so that you are comfortable in your skin in front of others. Instead of avoiding the stage fright tension, you give yourself permission to feel the tension. You get out of your head and into your body. Amazingly, the tension of stage fright dissolves into a relaxed state of presence. Your head clears, body softens and you have greater access to your ideas, insights, expertise, talents and gifts.

I always say that nothing is the end-all, be-all, but it really helps to learn to connect your mind and body when you are at the center of attention for speaking or performing. I have written the entire method in a newly published book on overcoming stage fright and fear of public speaking called “It’s Your Time to Shine.” Read about my book on my website or at Amazon.com.