‘Nerves’ can affect our performance. Many people avoid speaking in public because of nerves. Some people don’t speak up at meetings because of nerves. Nerves can come from a thought like ‘ I will make a fool of myself ‘ or a feeling of tightness in the chest or stomach. These nerves are simply a warning. You don’t have to obey them. If you really do want to become a more confident speaker or voice your opinion at a meeting then be aware of the warning but go ahead anyway. Your mind tilts towards the negative and can exaggerate. Imagine believing that you would rather die than speak to an audience.
A simple but not easy strategy is to distance yourself from the thoughts and feelings. Treat them as mental warnings and not commandments. Say to yourself ‘There’s the thought again’. It isn’t real. It is only one of many thoughts that pass through your mind. Imagine you have a waiting room in your mind. Tell the thought to wait until you finish what you are doing. Don’t engage. Create distance. This is the same for feelings that you call nerves. There’s the tightness again. Can you please wait in the waiting room. You can practise. Choose a scary thought about what might happen if you speak to an audience. As soon as it appears, ask it to wait. It will likely go away and may come back. Don’t try to get rid of these thoughts or feelings. Accept them but don’t treat them as if they are real. Don’t let fear hold you back from speaking to one or many.