The Nerve Killer Activity

An exercise to kill your nerves before a performance (1 hour – all day)

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) has some very helpful tools in order to relax before one has to do a speech. Since the audience tends to copy the mental state of the speaker, it is highly important to be calm instead of stressed when doing a public speech. The following two exercises should be repeated multiple times in the hours before one has to go on stage.

Reverse the negative feeling into a positive feeling

  1. How are you feeling? Nervous? Do you want to get rid of this feeling? If yes, go to step 2, if no, stop.
  2. Locate the negative feeling.
    1. Where in your body do you feel the feeling?
    2. What movement does it make?
    3. What colour is it?
  3. Grasp the feeling out of your body and finger paint its movement and colour on an imaginary white canvas.
  4. On the imaginary white canvas, recoat the feeling with your favourite colour in the contradictory original movement
  5. Put the reversed feeling back at the original location of the negative feeling
    1. How are you feeling now? Neutral?
  6. (Optional, when you want to feel better than neutral) Think about a moment where you felt extremely happy or euphoric.
    1. Where is that feeling?
    2. What movement does it make?
    3. Intensify!

Additionally, repeat this mantra until you feel relaxed:

“I accept that I am nervous, however, I stay calm and relaxed because I am safe’’

“I accept that I am nervous, however, I stay calm and relaxed because I am safe’’

“I accept that I am nervous, however, I stay calm and relaxed because I am safe’’

And so forth…

If these exercises didn’t work, try again! You might have chosen the wrong feeling, movement, or colour. If it only works temporarily, do it again, again, and again. Practice makes perfect!

These exercises are useful for everyone; you can use them at any time of the day. Personally, I use the reversed feeling technique at least twenty times a day. It gives you the opportunity to feel good for no reason, which is desirable since I would rather have a life in which I feel good instead of feeling depressed. The mantra could be applicable for many other undesirable emotional states besides nervousness. For example:

“I accept that I am having a panic attack, however, I stay calm and relaxed because I am safe’’

“I accept that I am worrying, however, I stay calm and relaxed because I am safe’’

“I accept that I am scared, however, I stay calm and relaxed because I am safe’’

In short, these exercises are changing my wellbeing and I could recommend everybody to do a course in NLP. I did my NLP courses with Briseïs Scheiner, a certified NLP trainer and coach. When you are interested in NLP, do so with her!

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