One of the best ways to relax and combat performance anxiety is through deep breathing exercises. Techniques such as the 5 breath technique, the relaxing place technique, centering and PMR (progressive muscle relaxation) are effective ways to manage anxiety. A moment of physical stillness allows the background noise of thoughts and feelings to beheard and encourages our minds to quieten down. Progressive Muscle Relaxation and Centering are my go-to techniques to get my clients performance ready.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Lie flat on the floor or sit on a chair in a quiet spot. Tense up each major muscle group, starting with the feet and moving your way up the body (feet, lower legs, upper legs, stomach, chest, shoulders, back, upper arms, lower arms, hands, neck and face). Once finished, scan the body for any remaining tension.
Warm Up – Take 2 deep breaths – in and out
Breathe in – Count 5 beatsBreathe out – Count 7 beatsNotice how your heart beats slower and you feel calm.
Note: You can vary the rhythm of the breaths.
For example: Breathe in – Count 4 beats
Breathe out – Count 6 beatsImportant: Always add 2 extra beats to the out breath
I would advise using Progressive Muscle Relaxation the night before a big event. The Centering exercise can be used pre performance and during performance.
The more you practise these techniques, the better you become at utilising them when the time is right. Incorporate them within your weekly practice routine to see results!