Nervous ? Moi ?

Nervous ? Moi ?

Sitting in the reception area of a non-descript building in an non-descript area of an inner city suburb, my daughter is nervous.

Or at least, she is pretending to be.Nervous

She is not freaking out, not going crazy and not pulling all her hair out…. She is simply just a little bit nervous.

The walls are covered in impressive photographs from previous shows – live shots taken during the performances, with fancy lights, big stage production and sets, large crowds, amazing costumes.

While I am sure she has a few butterflies in her stomach, she knows within herself that she has prepared, she knows she is capable of giving it a red hot go, and actually it works out well either way if she does or does not get the gig.

She is auditioning for a singing part in a show that will be performed later in the year.

In the car with me on the way in to today’s audition, my daughter has brought her iPad with her.  A friend of mine has graciously recorded the piano backing for the song she has prepared.  So, as we’ve been driving along the freeway, the iPad has been playing and my daughter has been singing along with it as both some final last minute practice and as a warm up.

All of this has got me thinking.

How do you deal with nerves ?

How do you deal with being nervous before an event, such as an audition, a job interview or the first day at your new job, meeting new people, a big change in your life, an exam, moving house or changing school ?

There are a few nerve reducing techniques that my daughter has been making use of to help calm herself down.

There have been a few stress reducing techniques that I have used to help her too.

Here are some of them:

1. Just Breathe.  Take some slow deep breathes. Inhale while counting slowly to 5, then exhale counting slowly to five.  Simple, yet extremely effective when it comes to calming the mind and relaxing the body.  Concentrating on your breathing allows you to put aside the feelings of nervousness and anxiety that may have crept up on you.  The controlled oxygen intake and carbon dioxide exhalation lets your body and mind function at its peak – again helping to put aside any worrying or scary thoughts.Sandy_Toes

2. Wiggle your toes.  This is a tactic my daughter was taught by one of her music teachers.  By standing there, smiling and wriggling your toes you can release all your nervous energy…. And no-one can see you do it.

3. Picture the end result.  Athletes do it all the time.  So too do adventurers and risk takers, small business and large business owners.  By picturing the end result or the desired outcome you wish to achieve, you can mentally rehearse the steps involved in getting there.  By picturing in your mind’s eye how you can achieve greatness, it becomes much easier to do in reality.  You’ve done it before in your head, so now it is easy to do in real life.

4. Tell yourself that you CAN do it.  If you tell yourself something, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.  The equal and opposite is also true – if you tell yourself that you can’t do it, then in all probability you can’t !  The power of positive thinking is not something to under estimate.

5. Picture them in their underwear.  This is not to sexualise the moment or to change the subject. This is a technique to simply remind you that everyone is vulnerable underneath – even yourself.  But if everyone else is in their undies, then they are probably more vulnerable than you are.  This gives you power and confidence.

6. Go through your preparation in your mind.  You know that you are capable.  You know that you are no different from everyone else.  In fact, you are unique, you are outstanding, you have special qualities and skills that are absolutely appropriate for this task.

7. Put on some headphones and listen to some music.  Listen to some calming music if you need to relax.  Listen to some loud and fast rock music if you need to fire up.  Listen to some inspirational music if you need help to get out there and make it happen.  Listen to your favourite song or album if you want to feel happy within yourself and take your mind off the nervousness that you might be feeling.

A very well-known band, Pink Floyd, have a song called “Breathe”.

The lyrics are:
Breathe, breathe in the air.
Don’t be afraid to care”.

Peer group pressure, especially for teenagers, can be enormous.  Inside you might be thinking along the lines of, “but what if they laugh at me ?”  The confliction between wanting to fit in, yet also wanting to take part in this new event, only adds to the nervousness and worry.

However, as Pink Floyd have suggested, most of the time it is better to be caring about what you want first and not concern yourself about what others may think or say or do.

So, the next time you are feeling nervous, perhaps just try to put some things into perspective.

As my daughter cleverly pointed out while we were waiting for her turn, if she gets the gig then that will be awesome, but if she doesn’t, then it will mean that she will not have to juggle her rehearsals and her homework.Milk_nerves

What is the worst that can happen ?  In reality, “the worst”, if it does happen, is probably not that bad.

More than likely, however, you will rise above your nerves and worry and apprehension.  You will most likely bloom, rise to the occasion, strive for and reach greatness.

You will probably become the champion, the legend, the confident super star that you were destined to become.



Calming Music Blog

Photo credits – Freddie Pena, mlaaka, domiriel, Scott Robinson,

Comments are closed.