Breathing deeper and exhaling slowly activates the diaphragm, which sends messages to the vagus nerve to turn on the parasympathetic nervous system. Once your body believes it’s in a more parasympathetic state (even if your mind is still trying to manage the stress), you’ll be calmer, more relaxed, and able to lower your heart rate.
This is vital for performance anxiety. Or any anxiety in general.
Inhale through your nose with your diaphragm (or your abdominal muscles), and gradually exhale. The more you’re able to train this diaphragm (a muscle that is essentially the lid on top of a cylindrical support for your spine, your posture will improve, your breath will be your anchor during times of stress, and your quality of life will improve.
I dreamt I was performing at Koerner Hall. I had finished playing some Schubert Impromptus and had gone backstage for a quick breather. Upon coming out, the stage was set up with a guitar and a keyboard on top of a nice rug. The second half was going to be a concert of singing, jamming, playing my own songs, and vibing with the audience.
I loved that. I wish I were able to do that. And can I? I think the incredible Chris Thile is as close as it gets to someone who meshes artistically and sincerely many different genres of music to give a beautiful music experience. He’s got some bluegrass, some Bach, and somethings in between.
I want to do that. And do that I think I’ve gotta start expanding my repertoire, continue to focus, and work hard.
A concert of classical, indie acoustic songs, improv, songs from the 60s – 90s, a little bit of slow jazz.. is that too crazy to ask for?