This situation arises from one using negative self-talk just before performing on the field, taking an audition or giving a concert. The negative self-talk arouses the fight or flight nervous system, because your brain thinks you are in danger. This leads to muscle tightening, rapid breathing and other anxiety symptoms, which seriously inhibit good performance.
There are many effective treatments for performance anxiety, including systematic desensitization, hypnotherapy and cognitive restructuring of ones internal self-talk.
A new study has now demonstrated that relatively few sessions of biofeedback training significantly decrease the mental, emotional and physiological aspects of music performance anxiety and improved music performance for university students.
The article concluded that the results of this study demonstrated that “university student musicians can learn, with an
average of four 30- to 50-minute sessions under a trained biofeedback practitioner, to use biofeedback and emotional shifting techniques to decrease [music performance anxiety] and improve their performance. All the treatment group students were able to meet the training criterion within four training sessions, and several met the criterion by the second training session.”
The results of this study may have a major impact on all situations where performance anxiety is an issue. A few, easy biofeedback training sessions may be just what the doctor ordered.
Jack N. Singer, Ph.D.
Certified and Licensed Sport and Clinical Psychologist
Diplomate, National Institute of Sports Professionals, Division of Psychologists
Diplomate, American Academy of Behavioral Medicine
Certified Hypnotherapist, American Academy of Clinical Hypnosis