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					Overcoming Public Speaking Anxiety - Breathing Exercises
(Excerpted from Write-Out-loud.com)


Overcoming public speaking anxiety breathing exercises will effectively, simply and
quickly ease your tension. They release fear, lower stress levels AND enhance your
speaking voice.

Under stress we tighten our muscles and HOLD the tension we're feeling. It locks
itself into our bodies. The cumulative effect of long term unreleased tension is varying
forms of debilitating and often fatal illnesses.

One of the first places tension shows is in our breathing patterns. Anxiety makes us
breathe more quickly and less deeply. The result is the body perceives itself as being
under threat and the automatic primitive survival mechanism fight or flight response
takes over.

The physiological effects of anxiety include:
    breathing off the tops of our lungs which in turn gives rise to:
    less oxygen circulating in our system
    a build up of carbon monoxide (because it's not being released through full
     exhaling)
    and in some people, panic attacks or hyperventilation
The direct consequence of anxiety on the quality of your voice is losing control of
pitch and tone.

Shallow breathing means you restrict the fullness of sound and range your voice might
have. It will sound squeezed or strained because you are talking off the top of your
lungs with a tight throat, jaw, mouth and face. Forcing your voice to override the
restrictions is not an answer. It causes damage ranging from resonably mild
inconveniences like a sore throat to serious problems requiring surgical intervention.

Consistently being fearful and therefore breathing shallowly can become a vicious cycle.

The less air we take in, the worse we feel and the less effectively we speak. The less
effectively we speak, the worse we feel, and the less air we take in. The only way to
break the cycle is to learn and use good breathing habits.
Overcoming Public Speaking Anxiety - Breathing Exercises
(Excerpted from Write-Out-loud.com)


Exercise One:
    Stand with your feet a comfortable shoulder width apart.
    Support the weight of your body through your hips and legs rather than locking
     your knees.
    Consciously release and relax your shoulders.
    If you're holding your stomach in, let it go.


    Place your hands on your stomach.
    Breathe in through your nose to the count of four. Count slowly. As you inhale
     feel your diaphragm rising.
    Breathe out through your mouth to the count of four and now feel your diaphragm
     expanding.
    Do several rounds of inhale and exhale to a four count while making sure you
     keep your shoulders, stomach and legs relaxed.
    Once you have mastered the four count, increase it. Through regular practice
     you will soon be able to extend it for a eight or even ten count. By then you will
     be feeling the direct benefit of these overcoming public speaking anxiety
     breathing exercises! You will be relaxed, alert and ready.

Variations on Exercise One:

    Lie on the floor or sit in a chair. (Either way, make sure your legs are uncrossed.)
    Use the out breath to hum quietly. Increase the intensity and volume as you go
     through your rounds.
    Use the out breath to sound each of the vowel sounds in turn. Let each go
     without force, flowing smoothly from your relaxed throat.

      For example:
      'A' is going to become ahhhhhhh... as in 'are'
      'E' is Eeeeeeeeeeeee... as in 'easy'
      'I' is Iiiiiiii... as in 'eye'
      'O' is Ooooooo...as in 'Oh'
      'U' is Uuuuuuuu...as in 'you'

      Feel the shape of the sound in your mouth and enjoy its resonance.
Overcoming Public Speaking Anxiety - Breathing Exercises
(Excerpted from Write-Out-loud.com)

    Use imagery by adding pictures of yourself achieving all that you want to in your
     speech. See yourself competent, smiling and confident. See the audience
     enjoying your talk.
Breathing Exercises - Exercise Two:
    Stand with your feet a comfortable shoulder width apart.
    Support the weight of your body through your hips and legs rather than locking
     your knees.
    Consciously release and relax your shoulders.
    If you're holding your stomach in, let it go.
    Bring your palms together in the centre of your chest.
    As you slowly inhale through your nose, keeping the palms of your hands
     together, raise your arms as high as you can above your head. At the same time
     raise yourself on to your toes.
    Hold your breath briefly at the top of your inhale keeping yourself fully stretched
     and pushing without strain toward to the sky.
    Exhale slowly through your mouth while keeping your arms fully extended. Bring
     them down and round back up to your chest, palms together in the starting
     position. At the same time slowly lower your feet.
    Repeat for ten rounds.
    You can use this exercise for breath counting as well. It has the same positive
     effects as the first exercise with the addition of gentle full body stretching.


Variations on Exercise Two:

    Sitting. Sit straight in your chair with legs uncrossed and both feet on the floor.
     Do the palm to palm hands, arm extension and raising as above.

The benefits of both these overcoming public speaking anxiety breathing
exercises are immediate, pyschologically and physically. Physiologically you are
using all of your lungs rather than the top third and have more oxygen in your system.
An additional benefit is you are strengthening your physical capacity to speak for a
longer time, to deal with more complex patterns of language effectively and you won't
need to break for breath as frequently. Make overcoming public speaking anxiety
breathing exercises a part of your daily voice warm-up routine. They're good for you.


Source: http://www.write-out-loud.com/overcoming-public-speaking-anxiety-breathing-
exercises.html

				
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