ZocdocAnswersAre there anti-anxiety breathing exercises I can use during public speaking events?

Question

Are there anti-anxiety breathing exercises I can use during public speaking events?

I am a 31 year old woman and the new job I just landed requires me to occasionally speak to large audiences. Unfortunately, I have a great deal of anxiety. I've heard of breathing exercises that could help. Is there anything else I should be doing?

Answer

Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking, and it is incredibly common. Like most things, it will improve with time and the realization that you can do it, and you can do it well. Until you get to that point, however, there are many things that can be done. Some people like to do conditioning exercises, where they imagine the worst thing that can happen, and then realize how unlikely that is to happen, and that, even if it did happen, they would be able to cope with it and move on. They then imagine the event in a more realistic light, and it helps them to understand that they have the ability to overcome catastrophic events, and so the normal outcome will be perfect. For others, slow, deep breathing and mental exercises can help them to calm their nerves. There are also groups, such as Toastmasters, that meet together to help improve public speaking skills and work through the anxiety. If all of these are still not enough, there are also medications that can be helpful. Please speak to your primary care doctor as needed, but realize that most people have some fear of public speaking, and you can likely overcome it.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.