Stage fright is an anxiety reaction that occurs before a specific social situation. It occurs when a person must carry out some type of activity before the public, be it speaking, singing, acting, etc. It is an anxiety disorder characterized by the fear of an audience, generating a panic reaction that can manifest itself on a cognitive, physiological, or behavioural level.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is generally of great help to several diseases and disorders including anxiety disorders. Stage fright can be a big issue for many speakers from beginners to experienced speakers, particularly those who may have become out of practice in recent times. Here, we explore how CBD can help reduce the stress of public speaking, even on the day of the event.
Why people get stage fright
Stage fright happens for several reasons. One of the main ones is that the public is not indifferent to the speaker, and the speaker feels evaluated by them, afraid of rejection and therefore feels the responsibility to be liked and respected at the level that the listeners expect. In this sense, it can be said that it is a fear with a positive and adaptive function that, if managed well, will lead the person to make an effort and get the best of themselves in front of the audience.
Another possible trigger for this fear is the fact of not being used to exposing oneself to an audience. On some occasions, this fear also appears at a very definite moment in time, after a specific traumatic episode when exposed to an audience. Some examples are going blank, not knowing how to answer a question or feeling very ill physically, falling or fainting.
Another trigger for anxiety is when the person is out of practice. With many people not having delivered in big events as a result of COVID-19, there are a lot of people that will be out of practice and they will be very anxious about going back to the stage, possibly leading to anxiety and or stage fright.
These episodes usually cause a great deal of suffering in the person and the person becomes unable to make adequate exposure, again leading to fear of success.
What does it feels like?
Stage fright can be expressed by many and varied symptoms, and even get to trigger anxiety attacks. The most common manifestations are:
- On a physical level: a feeling of suffocation or difficulty breathing, tremors, rapid heartbeat, sweating, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, frequent urge to urinate, facial flushing, severe headache, muscle tension, dry mouth, etc.
- On a psychological level: dispersion, confusion, difficulty in attending, concentrating, and remembering. The appearance of negative and disabling thoughts about the person himself or his performance. Fear of failure, negative criticism, making a fool of yourself, or being blank, among others. Catastrophic anticipatory thoughts about what is going to happen.
- On a behavioral level: clumsiness, low voice volume, speaking excessively fast, stuttering, remaining silent, intense desire to avoid the situation or to flee from it.
Remedies people use to boost their confidence
There are some remedies that can help avoid anxiety before speaking in public, such as rehearsing many times. When anxiety is very strong, you can go to support therapies that teach you to face your fears and relax, or also to public speaking classes.
On the other hand, there are psychological therapies, which help the person to move away from negative and self-destructive behaviors and replace fear with useful thoughts that can help them improve.
Here are some common psychological therapy practices to help you lose your fear of public speaking:
- Exposure therapy: it is about overcoming anxiety about speaking in public by exposing yourself to it. When it is not practiced it is more difficult to overcome it, however, if it is practiced only using the imagination, in front of trusted people or even strangers, it will be easier when it is time to expose it.
- Social skills training - Many times people who have public speaking anxiety are shy people. To improve public speaking anxiety, courses on body expression or voice control are useful.
- Relaxation techniques: the biggest problem when speaking in public is nerves. Therefore, knowing good relaxation techniques can be very helpful, for example breathing exercises.
Ultimately, and if the problem becomes disabling, we can go to the doctor to recommend some treatment that can help us reduce the symptoms derived from stage fright.
How CBD Oil can help fight anxiety/stage fright
CBD is a 5-HT1A receptor agonist. These are well-known receptors because they are part of the family of serotonin receptors, which is called 'the happiness hormone', they have been studied by Spanish scientists: you can discover this study by clicking on this link. In this study, it was observed that CBD has the ability to increase the transmission activity of this receptor: therefore, it allows to increase the availability of serotonin in the synaptic space.
The rapid onset of CBD's antidepressant action and the concurrent anxiolytic effect can help overcome some of the main limitations of current antidepressant treatments.
CBD helps regenerate neurons in the hippocampus
The hippocampus is a very important region of the brain because it helps regulate its functions: brain scans of people who can be affected by stress show that it is smaller than others. Therefore, it plays a key role in stress management. In this animal study, CBD stood out for its neurogenesis action in the hippocampus: it allows the regeneration of neurons, the ultimate goal of anti-stress and anti-anxiety treatments.
CBD helps reduce panic disorders
Research shows the action of CBD on mammals thanks to its antioxidant properties; mice were able to reduce their fear of predators. In a study published in 2011, Brazilian scientists have highlighted that it appears that CBD has anxiolytic properties that could be harnessed to help people with anxiety disorders. CBD would activate serotonin receptors, an important chemical and neurotransmitter in the human body that helps regulate mood, social behaviour, appetite, digestion, sleep, and memory, among others.
In 2016, Spanish researchers also studied the action of Cannabidiol (CBD) in the management of anxiety disorders: the results showed that CBD offers rapid antidepressant effects. A study conducted a year earlier, concluded the efficacy of CBD in reducing anxiety disorders that can have multiple origins, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, among others.
Using CBD in low doses can help reduce the anxiety and panic that comes with stage fright. Depending on how you feel, you can increase your intake little by little subject to the advice of your physician. This will boost your confidence in no small way and make your next speaking event more comfortable and less stressful.