Meditation as an approach to help with public appearances

Meditation as an approach to help with public appearances

by Headspace_HQ » Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:15 pm


I experienced some difficulties when presenting a while back. How can my mindfulness practice help?

Andy's Answer:

So the two central themes here are letting go and expectation. As traumatic as it may have been, that event was a long time ago. Meditation will help you let go of things like this. Looking forward, the more expectation you carry into the talk, the more challenging it will be. In this way, we really do create our own experience. It is not that it 'will happen to you', but more that we 'do it to ourselves'.

So, the first thing is to establish a daily practice, which you've already done. This will help you to become more aware of when the mind begins to feel overly excited or anxious and in seeing that clearly, to also let go of it. Whilst that awareness is getting stronger, as much as possible, try to view the occasion with genuine curiosity. Rather than anticipating a feeling and worrying about what that might feel like, instead notice what you are actually feeling and notice what that 'does' feel like. And regardless of what the feeling is, examine it, be curious. What does it feel like? Where do you feel it? Is it stable or is it changing? When you start to observe the mind in this way, things begin to change.

Looking at the reason for being anxious can sometimes help too. Mostly it's because we don't want to fail (whatever that means to us an individual). Whether we don't want to look silly, feel silly, disappoint others or disappoint oneself, these thoughts are what usually underlie any anxiety around public speaking. And as for an adrenaline rush, well, unless you are public speaking on a daily basis, this is pretty standard. If you can get comfortable with it, you'll find that it will quickly subside once you begin. But if you buy into it and confuse it with anxiety or something you need to prevent, then it will only get stronger.

As a final thought, always good to take a few minutes before a talk just to relax the body and mind. Even deep breathing can help.
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