Through most of college, I had pretty bad performance anxiety. Anxiety isn't even the right word for it. More like performance unpredictability.
Like, no matter what sort of mental preparation I went through...and no matter how thoroughly I practiced my music...I couldn't predict how my brain would respond to performing in front of an audience.
Sometimes I would shake, sometimes I would be short of breath, and most of the time I would be worried about what people thought of me afterward.
Don't get me wrong, I loved performing. I loved sharing my music. But it was like I couldn't control my brain. And that sucked.
Until I started thinking through the scary things.
Then, things started getting better.
When I would get nervous, it was because I was imagining worst-case scenarios. Or at least feeling the worst-case scenarios.
If I perform poorly, then my colleagues will think less of me. I won't have a career to be proud of. Everyone will talk about how I crashed and burned on that studio class performance.
But thinking it through...I mean, really thinking it through....
Even if I crashed and burned. Even if I had a panic attack. Even if I missed half the notes...
It would make for a good laugh afterwards, and the audience probably wouldn't remember the next day. Or certainly, they would forgot by next week.
So why fret?
It didn't solve everything. But it helped a lot.
When you're afraid, think through the reality. Is it as bad as you thought it would be?