It was actually completely insignificant. A few spontaneous words to a small group of people, all were positive or at least neutral towards me. And there it was again. I felt my heartbeat speed up, shortness of breath, shaky hands. Pure stress.
But now I really enjoy public appearances!
What had happened? My emotional center, the amygdala, had sounded the alarm for some reason – danger ahead! And then it goes off – like the fire department in our town. The siren sounds and minutes later you see the fire trucks, equipped with the fire department volunteers, racing to the scene of the accident with the horn blaring. The tension is palpable even to the spectator. Fifteen minutes later they are back, the cars slowly drive through the village, the faces of the firefighters look relaxed, once again false alarm. Fortunately.
The same thing happens in our bodies – when the inner siren sounds, all forces are bundled to counter the danger. Increased heart rate shoots energy into the limbs, our senses are focused on the danger. Thinking for a long time? Certainly not! In the meantime, the house is already burning down! There are three alternatives – face the “danger,” run away from it, or pretend you’re not even there.
Or – as in my case – I apply various counter-strategies for which my mind is not needed for the time being and thus calm down my system in order to then step in front of my audience relatively relaxed. And sometimes it is like the fire department in our town – false alarm. In my case – the audience is nice, they listen, they smile. And fortunately, that gets into my “mind” and I can also consciously give my amygdala the all-clear.