Everyone knows performing can be scary. In past posts we’ve discussed strategies for getting over stage fright, including playing a character and enrolling in a group class. Today we have an even simpler suggestion for you: just make yourself laugh. I know it doesn’t sound that helpful, but laughter is a powerful tool.
It Changes Your Brain
First off, smiling actually changes your brain chemistry. It triggers your body to release endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine, all neurotransmitters involved in making us feel happy and less stressed. Even if your smile or laugh is fake, merely moving your mouth that way will send your brain the same signal. It doesn’t take much imagination to understand how that would help you cope with performance anxiety.
It Loosens Up Your Throat
When you laugh, your throat becomes less constricted. False vocal fold constriction happens when your body is under stress. Evolutionarily, this helps serve a very important purpose: the constriction protects our bodies during strenuous activity so that our lungs don’t collapse from the labor. But the constriction is not so helpful for singing or public speaking. Laughter causes your false folds to open up and stop clenching. Your voice will sound freer, and your vocal production will be healthier. In this way, laughter is a physical and not just a psychological tool for performing better.
It’s as simple as that. Whether it’s calling up your hilarious friend or looking through your favorite bizarre pictures on Imgur, do what you need to do to crack yourself up before a performance.