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Meghan McCall

Voice & Nutrition Coach

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Working WITH Adrenaline

Adrenaline is a hormone that is released in response to stress or fear. It can be helpful in certain situations, like running from a tiger for example, or even performing IF channeled correctly.  Adrenaline heightens your abilities; it makes your heart beat faster and your lungs breathe more efficiently.  Since good sound making is heavily dependent on internal body energy being engaged, this should be good news.  

The issue is that we don’t always have a ton of experience working WITH these adrenaline hits and public speaking and singing are certainly not the same stakes as running from a tiger (although sometimes it may feel like it).  Adrenaline can also be harmful if it’s not properly managed during a non-fight or flight situation. Try these four ways to channel adrenaline for the good of your performance or speech, because SOME is a good thing:

1. Exercise

Physical activity can help you use up excess adrenaline in your body and release endorphins, which can make you feel good.  Try some jumping jacks or stretching before going on stage or entering your meeting.

2. Deep Breathing

Taking slow, deep breaths can help calm your body and mind, and reduce the effects of too much adrenaline.  A box breath would be a great choice here.  (Learn about Box Breath)

3. Meditation

Practicing meditation or mindfulness can help you focus your mind and reduce stress, which can help regulate adrenaline levels.  Try having one particular meditation you always use before singing or speaking in public, such as imagining yourself on a beach or in a forest, whatever place makes you feel happy and calm.  Feel the peace a place like this brings you.

4. Positive Self-Talk

Reframing negative thoughts into positive ones and engaging in positive self-talk can help reduce stress and anxiety, and help you feel more in control of your adrenaline response.  You can even tell yourself what you’ve learned in this blog, walking yourself through the feelings of the body reacting to adrenaline.  Sometimes just knowing that what you are experiencing is a body’s natural response to fear can help you redirect your thoughts into more positive ones. 

Remember, adrenaline can be helpful in certain situations, but it is important to learn how to manage it down in order to avoid negative effects on your physical and mental health.

Need more inspiration?  Check out one of my favorite books on breath by James Nestor called, “Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art”.

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