Change your emotions around performing

How much do your emotions affect how you perform?

Even when you realise that your emotions about yourself, your performance and your audience all impact how you perform, it can still feel impossible to change them.

So how can you change your emotions around performing?

The language we use around our feelings and emotions can be more significant than we realise. A lot of you already know how I feel about SMOG words (as I call them) and how using words like should, must, ought and got, impact how we feel and what we do. In the same way, how we phrase how we talk about our emotions can have a huge impact.

So often we talk about emotions in an ‘existential’ way, i.e. I am sad, I am worried. This can make them really feel as they are a part of our being, a part of who we are at the time. In as sense, they partially define who we are at that moment. This then can have the effect that they feel more solid, and stuck than they might, and this feeling of being stuck in our emotions can give us a strong sense of vulnerability.

Think about something you are feeling, and say “I am …….” Now re-phrase the feeling as “I am feeling ……” Is there a difference for you in the way those two things feel? Does it change how you feel about your feelings?!

It’s a bit like The Power of Yet, when you say you can’t do something, and then you insert the word ‘yet’ at the end, it transforms your feelings about that ‘can’t’. Naming your feelings as feelings can remind you that they are not permanent, that they can and will pass, and allows you to be kind to yourself about the fact that you have those feelings. Even placing you in a state where you can believe that¬†you can change the way you feel.

If you think about the emotions we have around performing, and for example you might think something like “I’m really worried about what the audience will think.” This may not sound very different to saying “I’m feeling really worried about what the audience will think.” In reality, for me, the emphasis moves from being about what the audience might think in the first phrase, to the fact that you are feeling really worried in the second form.

You have little control over what the audience thinks or will think in the moment, but you can more directly influence how you are feeling, and change it or offer yourself some comfort around it. For example, “It’s understandable I am feeling worried”, or “It’s completely normal to feel a bit worried”. It moves it to focus attention from something you have very little control over, to something you can do something about.

I discussed this in more depth in a video I did live in my FB group The Fearless Performer. Here’s a copy of that video:

Try labelling your feelings and see what happens to how you feel about them. Does it empower you to change them or be kinder to yourself?

With much love