As an actor, singer or public speaker, you know how important it is to have a strong and healthy voice. Your voice is your most valuable tool, allowing you to express emotions, tell stories, and connect with your audience. However, there's a hidden danger that can threaten the health of your voice: performance anxiety.
Performance anxiety is a common experience for many actors, singers and public speakers. It's that feeling of nervousness, stress, dizziness and nausea that you get before going on-stage or in front of a microphone. Your breathing may quicken and your muscles tense. While some level of excitement can be a good thing, helping you stay focused and energized, too much anxiety may lead to vocal damage if not properly managed.
When you're anxious, your body releases hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which can cause your muscles to tense up. This tension can affect your breathing and vocal production, leading to strained or forced vocalizations. Over time, this can lead to vocal fatigue, hoarseness, and even vocal nodules or polyps, which are growths on the vocal folds.
In addition to the physical effects, performance anxiety can also affect your mental and emotional well-being. It can cause you to doubt your abilities, become overly self-critical, and lose confidence in your voice. This can lead to a vicious cycle where your anxiety worsens, leading to more vocal strain and damage.
So, what can you do to prevent performance anxiety from damaging your voice? Here are some tips:
- Practice relaxation techniques: Before a performance or recording session, take time to relax your body and mind. Work with deep breathing and meditation exercises to prepare yourself for moments of increased stress.
- Warm up your voice: Take the time to warm up your voice before performing or recording. This can help prevent strain and damage.
- Warm up your body: Your voice is your instrument but it's connected to your body. Stretching and yoga offer incredible results to manage stress and open the body up for performance.
- Address your anxiety: If you're experiencing performance anxiety, it's important to address it head-on. Working with a voice coach to learn and practice healthy techniques will empower you as an actor, singer or public speaker. The more prepared and empowered you feel, the less likely you'll experience the thoughts that trigger your anxiety. Exposing yourself to what triggers you with your vocal coach is a safe and effective way to start working through your fears.
At Inner Wild Voice, I specialize in helping actors, singers and public speakers alike develop the confidence and skills to tackle performance anxiety and take control of their career. Feel free to reach out on my consultation form to schedule your first session. Together we can help you reach your goals and eliminate your performance anxiety while building your skills and tools as a performer.