Beating Your Arts Anxiety

There are plenty of things to be worried about as an arts student, or creative in the industry. Auditions, gallery openings, applying to a major, submitting work to a competition, performances … likely you have stressed about some of these, too.

Especially when considering the personal and intimate nature of art, it can be truly terrifying to put yourself out there and risk embarrassment or failure.

And adrenaline is no joke. But guess what, even though your body is reacting like you’re going to have to suddenly run away from a saber tooth tiger, you’re probably not in any danger. If, even after you’ve prepared and done everything in your power, you find yourself dealing with that pit in your stomach, shaky hands and a racing heart, try these tips.

DO

Sip green tea

Or any comforting drink. The familiar flavor will center you, and the act of drinking slowly will calm your breath and make you focus. You could also chew gum, or simply take long deep breaths.

Leave the situation

If you can, physically remove yourself from the space you’re in. A change of scenery to get some fresh air and sunshine will help. If you can’t, close your eyes and focus on clearing your mind for a few breaths. 

Lay down

Your body will take the cues to relax if it is in a position you use when sleeping. Also, it takes the pressure off your muscles and can help with those jittery trembles.

Exercise, or at least move

Squeeze a stress ball, take a walk, go for a run - get your blood pumping in a different way. Put on a favorite song and sing along while dancing. Embarrass yourself! In fact, that might help you realize how good it can feel to put everything you have into something, no matter the consequences.

Smell the roses

Roses, lavender, peppermint - or whatever smells you find soothing. Aromatherapy can get you out of your panicked state and back into a zone of determined productivity and positivity.

DO NOT

Stew in it

The temptation to play out every possible bad scenario over and over in your head is very strong. You could, of course, justify this by saying you’re planning ahead. But actually you’re just perpetuating your own misery. 

Keep it to yourself

Again, this shouldn’t be a problem you go alone. Tell those close to you (physically or emotionally) that you’re stressing out, and they’ll probably have tips of their own - or offer to distract you.

Try to ignore it

If you are exhibiting physical symptoms of nerves that are distracting you and trying to ruin your day, you need to treat that anxiety. Don’t try to carry on as normal, or something will inevitably burst.