4 Steps For Dealing With Audition Anxiety

Most actors in the waiting room at auditions are filled with fear and anxiety. Some of them judge it, blame it, shame it, and do anything to try to push it away.  What happens when you reject fear?  It grows.  It takes over.  It stops you from connecting to your best + most present self and bringing that energy in the audition room.

Here are 4 steps for dealing with audition anxiety.

In our culture, we’ve been taught that fear is the enemy, or if we allow our fear to be heard, that it will somehow prevent us from getting what we want.  We are usually scared that fear is bigger than us and separate from us.  So we tend to run from it.

What is fear really? I’m sure you’ve heard the acronym for FEAR.

And ultimately, it’s not the FEAR that’s stopping you, it’s your relationship with fear. So, when we stop rejecting and running from fear, we actually dissipate its power.  When we face it, it’s no longer disruptive and it releases its hold on us.

I created an acronym for actors to remember how to use fear and have a BALL at every audition. 
Let it grow
Let it go

1) Breathe
Breathe and notice any fear in your body.  Locate it.  Is it in your chest, stomach, throat, hands?  Send oxygen to it.   Breathe deeply and notice how really slow deep breathing affects your heart rate.

2) Acknowledge
Actually say hello to it.  Literally.  Fear is your ego trying to keep things the same.  When you ignore your ego it will get louder and try to take over, so simply say “Hi.”  You can say, “Hello Ego, thanks for sharing, I know you’re just trying to keep me safe. I am aware of you.  Thanks for trying to protect me.” Treat your anxiety like a friend, not the enemy.

3) Let it grow
Encourage your Ego/Fear feelings to become bigger.  This might seems counterintuitive, but it’s when you try to fight your anxiety and push it down that it will fight you back. So, you can say, “Go ahead, can you get more _______ (nervous, scared, anxious).”  Sustain this for a minute.  Try to actually grow the fearful feeling, letting it have its way and be heard.  When you do this, it will tire itself out and fade away very quickly.  It’s as if you are putting your arm around fear and saying, “I hear your concerns.”  Think of it like allowing an angry friend to feel heard, they tend to calm down a lot faster than if you tell them they shouldn’t be upset.

4) Let it go
Release it.  Reassure your fear that you know it doesn’t like the unknown, but that you are going to forge ahead into your audition anyway. “I’m going to let you go.  I’ve got this.”  Release it like a hot air balloon, and watch it float up to the sky.

If you still feel any fear or anxiety what else can you do?

Rename it

Call it Excitement. Because FEAR and EXCITEMENT actually show up in the body, physiologically, in the same exact way.  So, notice what label you are using and what it does in your mind.  Start saying to yourself, “I’m so excited to be here to perform. I am excited to play today and see all my playmates in the room.”

Use it.

The key is to not make yourself wrong for feeling that way.  Use it to your advantage. Ask yourself questions like:

“How might the character I am playing in these circumstances feel excited, nervous, fearful etc. right now?”
“What if I allowed fear to pull up a chair at my character’s inner table, how could I allow it to surprise me today?”

When fear knows that you are on its side and you use it instead of fight it, it can actually help you make interesting choices.

“Taking responsibility for your beliefs and judgments gives you
the power to change them.”
–Byron Katie

So, allow your fears to be heard at your next audition and watch yourself reclaim your power, be present, and have a great audition!

That is my wish for you.  Best of luck!

~ Wendy Braun

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