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How to Use Somatic Understanding to Improve Public Speaking and Personal Intentionality

empty chairs in an auditorium

You might have heard the age-old adage, "Change your thoughts, change your life," but what if I told you that the key to shifting your mindset lies not just in your thoughts, but also in your body?

Picture this: you've been given this incredible opportunity to present your idea, your product, your blood sweat and tears to a group of investors and potential clients. The stakes are high. You've worked weeks on your slide deck, you've practiced your presentation to your family, you're ready. Before you walk in to give your talk, something happens. Your hands start to shake, your heart starts racing, your mouth goes dry. You tell yourself "I'm okay. You're a winner! A champion! Today is your day!". But your body doesn't listen. Your eyes start to go slightly in and out of focus and you cannot remember the first word of your presentation. Your name is called, the door opens, and you begin to go through the motions. After it's over, your memory are bits and pieces scattered around. What did you say? Did you make. your point? What happened?

If any of this resonated, you're not alone. Anywhere between 10% and 30% of the population report anxiety around public speaking. In fact, public speaking is listed in the top three fears (death and financial fears being the top two) and approximately 40 million people suffer from glossophobia. Even if you are not among this group, speaking in front of people can often create anxiety that is difficult to control.

Let's delve deeper into the impact of emotions on our bodies, particularly anxiety. When we experience anxiety, our bodies enter a state of heightened arousal known as the "fight or flight" response. This evolutionary survival mechanism triggers the release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, causing physiological changes such as increased heart rate, rapid breathing, tense muscles, and heightened alertness.

These physical manifestations of anxiety are not merely sensations we experience in our heads; they have tangible effects on our bodies. Prolonged exposure to stress and anxiety can take a toll on our physical health, leading to issues like high blood pressure, weakened immune function, digestive problems, and even cardiovascular disease.

But what if I told you that learning to control our fears around public speaking or presenting begins in the body?

Recent research has shed light on the intricate connection between our physiology and our mental state. Did you know that a whopping 80% of the messages traveling through our vagus nerve—the body's communication superhighway—originate in the body and travel up to the brain? Only 20% go the other way. This means that our bodies play a significant role in shaping how we feel, think, and ultimately, how we show up in the world.

Understanding the body-mind connection is crucial for mastering control in high stress/high impact situations.

Imagine this: before stepping onto the stage to deliver a presentation, you may be experiencing heightened anxiety and self-doubt. But by incorporating somatic experiencing techniques, (breath, grounding, anchor points), co-regulation techniques, and presentation skills allows you to access a calmer and more centered mindset. This, in turn, empowers you to communicate with confidence and authenticity, free from the grips of anxiety or self-doubt.

The dividends paid to these practices pay ten fold because it gets incorporated into our personal lives as well and begin showing up as the most authentic, capable, and secure person we've always wanted to be.

Are you ready to explore where body and mind unite to foster growth, resilience, and empowerment? If so, drop me a line. I'd love to help.

Until next time, stay curious and keep thriving!

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