At a friend’s 50th birthday party last year, I was asked to say a few words about the Man of the Moment. Just a few. Nothing special. In front of a small gathering.
Nothing large. All people I knew. And have known for years. But as the moment to stand up and be heard approached, I went into meltdown. My heart raced, my breath quickened, my brow became a slick of sweaty beads.
I was having an anxiety attack.
When I started speaking, my throat dried up and the words barely stumbled from my lips. I felt like I was dying on the garden steps that served as the mini-stage.
And even worse, my audience knew it too. There were no ‘Bravos’ no ‘Well dones’, just loads of ‘Hey, it was fine, honests’. Once again I had choked in front of people – caused by a wave of panic I have suffered from all of my life.
I know I am not alone in this. In an episode of my favourite-ever TV sitcom, Seinfeld, Jerry Seinfeld said the following: ‘More peole are afraid of public speaking than they are of death – which means they’d rather be in the coffin that delivering the eulogy.’
That’s me, that is. And such experiences affect millions of us to a lesser or greater extent at some point in our lives.
What do you feel anxious about? And would you like to conquer those out-of-control feelings?
Which brings me to the point of this post. AXA PPP healthcare’s mental health expert Dr Mark Winwood will be providing live support for anyone with questions on anxiety from 2pm-4pm on Thursday 26 July.
But first of all, you can join a Twitter discussion to ask questions about anxiety (just use the hashtag #axapppchat) on Wednesday 25 July (tomorrow) from 6.30pm-7.30pm. THREE tweeters (chosen at random) will have a chance to win a luxury PAMPERING PACK, worth £80 each.
If AXA can’t respond to your question during the Twitter discussion, Dr Mark will get back to you during his live chat on the 26th!
Can’t make either of the chats?
There’s no need to miss out, just leave your question in the comments below, or get in touch through Facebook or Twitter, and AXA PPP will get back to you with a response from Dr Mark a few days after the online clinic ends.
In the meantime, if you suffer from performance anxiety – as I do – here are some tips from behavioural expert Judi James:
1. Be your own coach – Stop listening to that voice inside your head with those ‘what if?’ scenarios. Talk yourself up with positive inner dialogues and kick the negatives ones out.
2. Create a leader voice – Think of someone in your life who could motivate you and use their voice in your head to tell you to ‘get out there and go for it’.
3. Visualise success – Give yourself a dress rehearsal in your mind. See yourself doing well and sailing through the situation with ease.
4. Develop a ritual for calm – Stop, relax, breathe deeply and think yourself calm. Tell yourself: “I feel calm, confident and in control”.
5. Pace about – Sitting still can increase pre-performance jitters, so try pacing around instead. It’s a good warm-up for your body.
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY:
• Don’t forget to join the Twitter discussion tomorrow between 6.30pm and 7.30pm for a chance to win a luxury pampering pack worth £80. Make sure you use the hashtag #axapppchat
• Don’t forget to join Dr Mark’s live chat from 2pm to 4pm on Thursday 26 July for his answers to your questions. You can click on the link here.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, which means I have been paid.