When we are put in high stress situations it is natural for our bodies to work to protect us. In these adrenaline-based states we have a physical response – we change and adapt to make us stronger, faster and more alert. We instinctively run away, or fight it out.
Why does this happen? The answer is in our brain. The amygdala, an almond-shaped brain structure, has forever been linked to a person’s mental and emotional state – it holds all painful experiences, poor performances and embarrassing moments. So if you have felt embarrassed or uncomfortable during a past speech, the amygdala will link up your past experience with that present instance. But the wonderful thing is, like the power of the brain, you can go back and reprogram yourself.
It’s typically recommended you “take a deep breath,” before your speech which isn’t the best thing to do. This inhale excited the central nervous system and stimulates that fight or flight response that we don’t want to come into play. A simple breathing exercise is to take a small sip of air for a count of 2, breath out for 4 counts and begin.