By KRS Edstrom
I am currently engaged in giving small workshops to 20-30 people. The night before the seminar I have difficulty sleeping and feel extremely anxious. Participants in the groups comment that I present myself well as a communicator and always look relaxed. If they only knew. I have also started competing in Master’s athletic events. When training for these events I do well, but in competition I am extremely anxious and cannot perform up to standards. Your help would be appreciated
Dear Performance Anxiety,
It may help you to know that performance anxiety is very common. In fact, experts say public speaking is our number one fear, surpassing the fear of dying!
Pursuing these things you fear is an excellent vehicle for you to overcome your fears and the deep-rooted causes behind them. The worst element of fear, if you break it down, are the physical sensations — the tight shoulders, rapid heartbeat or whatever your personal reactions to stress might be. In other words, thoughts cause physical reactions which alarm us and cause more stressful “what if” thoughts — and so on into a negative self-perpetuating cycle.
Here are two suggestions to implement when stressful thoughts arise:
1) Ask yourself “Where do I feel the stress in my body right now?” Then focus on that area, circle the pain with an imaginary magic marker and observe it with interest versus fear. Study all aspects of the tense area and give yourself permission to let go of the tension in that area. When outside thoughts arise, just bring your attention back to the physical discomfort and continue to open and release that area of your body as you let your breathing grow deep and rhythmic. As this area releases you will feel more relaxed and ready to drift off.
2) Catch any nervous negative thoughts and images replacing them with a positive
image such as standing at the podium in complete confidence doing what you love
and telling people what they want to know. Whether you stumble on a word or have
to check your notes is SO unimportant. The main thing to remember is that you
have information they will enjoy hearing. You already have input that you look
relaxed and people enjoy what you say. Believe it! This challenge is not a
roadblock. It is a wonderful opportunity to make you a better speaker, athlete
and — person.
I have just had an operation to remove my appendix, therefore I am unable to get back to the gym for the next few weeks. I don’t want to get too unfit during this recovery time. Do you have any ideas for keeping my fitness level up?
Exercise After Operation?
Dear Exercise After Operation,
“No Excuses” is one of my very favorite maxims, but you are one of the few people who apparently doesn’t need to hear it. There are a few times your body actually needs to slow down to heal and post-surgery is one of those times.
Having said that, I hasten to add that movement and circulation are vital to recovery and doctors have come a long way in realizing that. They have patients moving around (with help) soon after many major operations, including heart and hip surgery.
It wasn’t that long ago when patients remained flat on their backs for days or
even weeks after such surgeries. Hopefully, your doctor has suggested a schedule
of safe, gentle movements that will encourage your healing process but won’t
harm you. Since your appendix is in the stomach area it is a tricky area to
isolate, unlike a foot or hand. So be patient, go easy and don’t worry — your
fitness level will return soon enough.
I know “exercise” will be your answer for a healthier lifestyle, but what is your opinion about such diet pills as Redux and Pendimin Phentermine?
Diet Pill Curious
Dear Diet Pills,
There are frequently negative and even dangerous side effects from taking “weight-loss” drugs. At best, pills are a very short-term solution. Statistically, the weight will come back, usually accompanied by a few extra pounds. That is why I often joke that diet pills are a great way to GAIN weight!
Most importantly, you don’t learn anything by trying to take the easy way out. I
know that you want to lose it fast with minimum effort, but there are no
shortcuts in regards to weight loss. The line of least resistance seems so
tempting until we realize, hopefully sooner than later, that all of life’s
challenges offer valuable lessons.
KRS Edstrom, M.S., is an author, lecturer and columnist. She is available for private sessions (by phone or in person) and seminars on meditation, motivation, stress, pain, weight loss and other personal growth issues. Her books and audios offer solutions for healthful, conscious living. For free soothing guided meditations and more, visit KRS’ “Serenity and Meditation Corner” at www.AskKRS.com For more info call (323) 851-8623 or e-mail KRS@AskKRS.com
Return to the November/December Index page