Nervousness when speaking in public can be one of the most debilitating states of nervousness for any person; wrecking careers and opportunities alike. Known as “social phobia” by psychologists, this fear can remain lifelong. Just imagining this, can result in physical symptoms such as dry mouth, accelerated heart rate, upper chest breathing.

Our memories are in part reconstructions. Whenever we retrieve a memory, the brain rewrites it a bit, updating the past according to our present concerns and understanding. Each time we bring a memory to mind, we adjust its very chemistry; the next time we retrieve it, that memory will come up as we last modified it. The specifics of the new consolidation depend on what we learn as we recall it. If we merely have a flare-up of the same fear, we deepen our fearfulness. But the high road can bring reason to the low.

If at the time of the fear we tell ourselves something that eases its grip, then the same memory becomes re-encoded with less power over us. Gradually we can bring the once-feared memory to mind without feeling the rush of distress all over again.

Johanica Havenga

Executive Coach, Body Integration Specialist and Content Manager BTech (Drama), TUT; Qualified Vinyasa Yoga Instructor (RYT200), The Jozi Yoga School; Dip (Exercise Anatomy and Physiology), Institute of Fitness Professionals; NDip…

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Elri Wium

Specialist in Nonverbal Communication, Emotion and Voice and Speech Production

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Gail Cameron

Founder and Managing Director of Image Excellence Group and My Pocket Coach (ATCL., LTCL., FTCL, Trinity College London) Gail has 30 years of experience as an executive coach and is…

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