Since childhood piano recitals, I have had anxiety and fear about performing on stage before a group – large or small. Because I had not done this in 40 years, this fear had not been a problem. This anxiety re-emerged earlier this year when a friend I was coaching on the mountain dulcimer began urging me to enter the dulcimer competition at the end of February this year. I gave her an emphatic NO revealing my stage fright.
She kept urging gently and I continued to say no, but this urging did motivate me to face the fear. Then the light in my brain flashed; of course EFT should help (I still had my doubts that it could help this long-lived anxiety). I gave myself an out, saying I could always back out at the last moment!! It was time to face the fear.
Imagining Being On Stage
I began the tapping process by imagining being on stage before a hundred or so people then let the fear feeling emerge. At this point I began the tapping protocol by repeating, "Even though I feel anxiety when performing on stage, I deeply and completely accept myself." The process was continued until the fear emotions began to subside.
After each round I would rate the fear level from one to ten (ten the highest). At about level five I repeated the follow-up, "Even though I still feel some anxiety, I deeply and completely accept my self," until the fear level abated even more. This procedure was practiced about three times before the actual date. Genetically possessing a fair share of chicken genes, I continued to tell myself I could always back out at the last moment.
The Day Of...
The morning of the competition was spent in dulcimer classes and practicing the pieces I would play in the competition – not too much anxiety. As the competition time neared, I felt the anxiety rising. When we drew numbers for order of appearance, I drew number one – anxiety went through the roof! While waiting back stage I did deep breathing and mentally went through the tapping process.
Even though tense and anxious at first, I completed the first round, sat back, heard the other competitors and thought, "Well I did it, I'm glad I did it, and I won't be chosen for the second and last round of competition." Blood pressure and adrenaline abated, dulcimer packed away, I sat back to enjoy the rest of the program.
Shock! My number was called for round two. I unpacked my dulcimer, hid away and practiced the last two tunes to be played, and mentally went through the tapping routine. The second round was completed with much less anxiety. The last surprise was that I placed second. It was a thrill not only to be able to overcome the fear, but to be rewarded for it. As the old Beatles song goes, "I'm a Believer."
From the EFTfree Archives, which are now a part of EFT International .
Originally published on March 16, 2013.