Even as a professional magician, I get nervous. Sometimes, very nervous. Any time I’m trying out a new magic trick, or performing a new stand up comedy bit, I feel the adrenaline rush through me; I get warm and can feel my hands tingle and even shake. I think we all know that this is the “Fight or Flight” response kicking in and it’s our body actually helping us, though it doesn’t feel like that when you’re trying to give a speech through flop sweat and knocking knees!
There is always someone telling us that we should “imagine the audience naked”, “change the feeling from ‘nervous’ to ‘excitement'” or “close your eyes and imagine a perfect performance”. Some of these work better for some than others, but I always think, ‘Yeah, this is all well and good, but I wonder what the Army would do to get rid of nerves in its soldiers?’. If a military organisation says that it’s developed a way to control nerves and manage the overactive fight or flight response, I’m going to pay attention. Let’s be honest, lives depend on these people; they’re put in the most challenging conditions in the world and any nervous behaviour could cost lives (imagine a shaking nervous hand on a trigger).
If anyone is ever going to develop a technique that REALLY works, it’s going to be the military.
That’s why I was so interested to read this technique of “Combat Tactical Breathing” – a very simple technique of breathing that has been tried and tested to reduce symptoms of nervousness. If it can help soldiers who have to shoot at people for a living, it can help you deliver that presentation.
Have a read and let me know what you think.
Tomorrow, I have another technique that a fellow comedian put me onto that is fun to try too!
Have an awesome day! 🙂