Stage fright is a physical reaction caused by your bodies fight or flight response system. Some of the symptoms include sweaty palms, racing heart, blurry vision, difficulty breathing, and an upset stomach. This response is triggered when our primitive brain perceives threats such as snakes. It is thought that we view public speaking a threat to our reputation. The threat response triggers a process that leads to the release of adrenaline into our blood. Non-essential systems slow down, and oxygen and nutrients are directed to muscles and vital organs, even our pupils dilate which can make it hard to read our notes.
When it comes to stage fright, there are some things we can control and some things we can't. We cannot control our genetics, which play a key role in how much stage fright affects us. John Lennon was a famous musician who played in front of people thousands of times but still threw up before each performance. However, we can control how prepared we are. Practicing increases familiarity and reduces anxiety. It is best to practice in an environment like the real one. Also, we can trick our brains by stretching our arms and breathing deeply just before a speech to trigger a relaxation response to counteract the fight or flight response.