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5 Ways To Handle Performance Nerves

Getting Started

Performance nerves are common for everyone from Broadway actors to professional presenters. It can be intimidating if you lack the confidence necessary to perform. It can even make you feel sick like you’re going to spin out of the room but there are ways to calm those nerves and sooth those feelings. In this article, I outline my personal solutions to handle pre-performance nerves.

Here’s A Quick List

  1. Stretch

  2. Work out your mouth

  3. Kundalini Yoga technique

  4. Visualize your success

  5. Breathe


1. Stretch

Stretching is one technique that has helped me relieve my anxiety before a performance. Let me teach you the method I personally use. What I want you to do is completely collapse over. Let your body fall forward and with your arms extended let your fingertips touch your feet. Vertebrae by vertebrae lift yourself up and reach for the sky.

Here’s an interesting take on the positive effects of stretching and how it can reduce your anxiety.

Here is a quick video expanding on the ideas in this article.

2. Work out your mouth

A lot of times when we get nervous we hold all the tension in our mouths. There are many different exercises you can do to relieve that tension and in turn relieve your stress and anxiety. Opening and closing your mouth and stretching it really helps. Loosening up and relieving tension in your face by letting out verbal noises (as seen in the video above) can really calm you. It may make you feel silly but maybe it’s that silliness that exposes a vulnerability you are feeling. Temporarily taking the doubtful thoughts from your mind and having a good laugh also helps. Any mistake you make on camera leaves you vulnerable. It’s good to practice being vulnerable because inevitably will have awkward or vulnerable experiences. The key is knowing how to turn that vulnerability in your favor and embracing it. This is a technique I use before a performance. Also, you can chew gum before you perform. Just remember to throw it away in the trash before the performance.

3. Kundalini yoga technique

Breathing exercises are a crucial part of reducing anxiety and calming nerves. Breathing in through one nostril while you plug the other and doing this back and forth (As seen in the video above) is one of the techniques I personally use. It’s an amazing technique and from my experience can create an atmosphere that calms you for 20 minutes or longer.

This technique comes directly from a form of yoga called Kundalini Yoga.

Here’s a link to those very techniques.

4. Visualize your success

Before your performance, close your eyes and visualize the entire performance going smoothly from beginning to end. Being relaxed, empowered, and in control of the situation.

5. Breathe

Another breathing exercise I use involves doubling the amount of time you breathe out opposed to the amount of time your breath in (Also shown in the video above). Breathe in for two seconds and then out for four. Breathe in for four seconds and then out for eight. Finally, breathe in for 8 seconds and out for twelve. It’s amazing how calm you feel when you take more time to breathe out and it really does help calm those pre-performance nerves.


There is an enormous amount of information on the web that talks about how to handle anxiety and nervousness. Everyone seems to have there own way of dealing with the stress that can accrue before an important performance. In this article I outlined the ways in which I deal with nerves but everyone is different. Adapt some of these techniques with your own approach and always stay present.

Here are some other post that I thought you (my audience) might find helpful also.

Let me know how you overcome anxiety and nerves before a performance in the comments below!


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