Fear, like any other emotion is information. It is produced as a result of a stimulus, which is always a thought. A lot of the time you may not have even been aware of the thought which triggered the emotion. The interesting thing is that according to neuroscience, it takes just 90 seconds for the chemical signal to travel around the body, and after that the chemical dissipates. So after 90 seconds the emotion only stays if you choose to hold onto it. Think about that for a moment.

So once the information has been interpreted by the brain, it decides whether that emotion is serving a purpose. If you are feeling happy, it will probably want to hold onto that happiness, so it will try to keep you in happiness. If you are feeling afraid, and the brain perceives that as a real threat then it will keep you in fear to get your attention. It wants you to take action. When you touch a hot stove and immediately withdraw your hand, your brain doesn’t keep you in fear because action has been taken. The emotion is no longer needed.

When you are in a situation you perceive as fearful, such as being on stage or speaking in public, your life is not in danger. Fear is not a valid response, it is a learned response based on limiting beliefs you may have about yourself, and often the fear of being judged. When you are experiencing that fear and it won’t go away, you are giving meaning to that emotion through the thoughts you’re having. Your brain is prolonging the emotion as a way to protect you, to get your attention to take action, whether it be fight, flight or freeze.

Your thoughts create your perception of your experience from moment to moment, and although you cannot choose what thoughts you have, you can choose which thoughts to tune into. Every time you tune into a thought you are giving that thought meaning and validation, and so that becomes your reality. If you choose to let your thoughts be, then your fearful thoughts will take no meaning. If you are still fearful after 90 seconds then you no longer need to look for meaning in the emotion.

Every time you hold onto fear beyond 90 seconds, you are creating a negative perception of reality. If no action needs to be taken to remove you from real danger, no fear should exist, since your brain has already interpreted the data. So let your thoughts be, and your fear cannot harm you.

If you would like to know more about how performance coaching can help with your fear of performing or public speaking, please get in touch and we can have a chat.