Just so you know that we are not alone here in the USA where millions suffer from anxiety and panic attacks, read this letter I got from Inga in Armenia.
—– Original Message —-
From: Inga M.
Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2008 1:56:04 PM
Subject: A comment I want to share.
God knows I was looking for someone to finally HELP me with my fear and anxiety! And I finally found you!!!!!!!! Please read until the end!!! My problem appears to be the same as you had experienced in the past. I have a singing anxiety and a VERY STRONG ONE!! The thing is, I have been singing in a choir for more than 10 years and there is nothing I enjoy more in my life!!
You might think I have anxiety during our concert performances. Nothing of the kind! I’m fine there, maybe only a little nervous at the start and just before going to the stage, but then I regain my normal breath and simply enjoy singing. (though it wasn’t always like that, but I really can’t analyze and tell you what helped me to cope with this one I used to have)
Now my current problem is more trivial than you can think…. It’s the daily routine rehearsals that we have 4 days a week. Whenever the conductor works on a certain piece that our sopranos do not sing very well, e.g. there’s a tone problem, or something is wrong with the color, or the phrase is not smooth enough, (I’m sure you know what I am talking about)
So, just when she is not satisfied with our singing she starts asking to sing the same “tricky” phrase ONE BY ONE to spot the guilty one! I am supposed to be one of the leading voices and when we sing all together, like a choir, I’m singing with all my strength and emotions.
BUT when she starts asking me to sing solo……..that’s where my heart starts beating 200 per minute, I sweat, get red in the face, gasp, there’s a terrible spasm in my throat and I simply can’t make a sound! Then she just insists on me singing and I finally make some croaking sound and she gets frustrated and asks me to do it again and again and everybody is listening very attentively in silence….
This is simply horrible! I know you told me I must not TALK about my experience, cause this makes things even worse. And you are 100% right!!
I was so excited as I was going through your videos!
And when you actually reached the point where you were giving the secret I gasped with hope….. Now, I’m finally going to know the secret that will put an end to all my miserable feelings!!! Dearest Mark! I don’t know why, but it just didn’t work with me! NOT AT ALL!!!
You are asking at the beginning if I have that sour feeling in my mouth and more saliva as I am imagining cutting a juicy lemon, YES! I clearly had more saliva and the sour taste in my mouth! That part was incredible! I got your point very clearly!
But as you went on explaining how I should go 15 minutes into the future and then look back at me having sung successfully….. I don’t know maybe my fear is SO strong that it blocks my imagination whatsoever! I can’t imagine myself singing well when I am sitting there and the conductor goes: Inga please, now it’s your turn to sing!
Oh, Mark, I do wish with all my heart that I could do as you are telling me, but I’m trying and nothing happens, Just blank mind….
I can FEEL that what you are saying simply changes many people’s lives! BUT not mine! Why??? I’m so desperate! Please help me with more advice!!!!
Very sincerely your patient
Here’s my reply:
You’re right, I can totally relate to your solo singing experience. Remind me to tell the story of how I “tried” to play French horn once in church and got so nervous nothing would come out except very embarrassing “fart” noises… :o)
The anxiety technique is, as I pointed out in the video series, “the cherry on top.” It’s a technique we usually use at the end of a full day of clearing techniques where we:
- apply a whole series of linguistically designed questions to loosen the problem
- further loosen the problem by eliciting and interrupting the underlying strategy, the “how do you do it” process.
- clear negative emotions using time line therapy
- clear the root cause event or limiting decision or limiting belief system underneath the problem.
- do the fast phobia model
- do swish patterns and anchoring
- do EFT
- do the anxiety technique
- do hypnosis
Unfortunately sometimes the negative “knee-jerk” response is so intense that you need to work 1 on 1 but it’s usually worth it because we often end up clearing the root cause of this challenge which no doubt has shown up in other areas of your life even though in the other areas it doesn’t trigger quite as intense a reaction.
One thing you can do immediately is speak to your director in private and explain the problem. You have a right to not be put on the spot and be made miserable. Your director’s intention is obviously to make the performance stronger and better. Not worse.
If she wants your voice in her choir she has to be willing to be a flexible communicator and learn how to work with you as well.
A couple of Modern Jedi NLP beliefs:
a. The meaning of our communication is the results or response we get.
b. There is no failure only feedback.
The feedback for your director is that this particular technique of putting you on the spot is not creating the result she wants. The feedback for you is that something needs attention.
To keep her from getting defensive use the feedback sandwich which I discussed in last week’s blog post at
1. Postive statement: “I love being in this singing group. I love to sing and I love contributing. I truly value your leadership and your desire to encourage us to sing our best.”
2. Constructive comment: “AND when you single me out It triggers some really deep fear and panic that I’m working on but I’m not yet able to control. It totally freaks me out and I can tell it frustrates you and embarrasses everybody. Is it possible to rehearse in some other way so that for the time being, while I’m working on clearing this, I can avoid being put on the spot?”
3. General positive statement: “Again, I really enjoy singing with this group under your
direction. And I so appreciate your sensitivity to this. It means a lot etc.”
something like that.
Another thing you can try immediately is to go out a lot further into the future and look back at having resolved this issue. Also make sure you are up above your time line looking down as an observer. Whether you are looking through or own eyes or seeing yourself through the eyes of an observer is crucial.
It often helps to shrink the other person (or people) involved in the situation down and make yourself huge like the jolly green giant. Be sure to pull the imaginary camera back so you see yourself as an observer towering over the director and the other choir members. See and hear and feel yourself singing so powerfully and joyously that the mountains tremble! I wouldn’t suggest that you see the other choir members trembling as well and being totally intimidated and admiring of you but if it helps go for it.
If you are serious about clearing this problem and turning the “solo” moment into something you look forward to because it’s your chance to show off and earn the admiration and respect of your fellow singers, let me know and we can set up an appointment to work 1 on 1.
( Note: I had no Idea she was writing from halfway around the world)
p.s. may I have permission to share your story so that other’s can learn and benefit from your experience?
THANK YOU SO MUCH for answering my letter,you are really helping me a lot already!!!! I truly appreciate it! Now I see why it didn’t work for me the fist time . Because I was not prepared! You are doing lots and lots of things during the sessions that I believe are truly effective!
I do wish I could come and join your group or even take your wonderful one on one course of therapy! That would be great, ànd thank you very much indeed for offering me help! But the thing is, I’m living far away, in Armenia, Yerevan and this makes the whole thing impossible!
But what I really intend to do is I am going to follow all your “cool stuff” and read all the newsletters that you give on the site and listen to your great songs and practice what I learned from you and remain your very very grateful patient!
P.S. And of course you can share my story with others! I don’t mind at all!
THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!
What is most important from Inga’s experience is that
- Often the experience of anxiety or panic or phobia is extremely specific. It may happen in only certain conditions and not others. In this case, Inga can sing fine in a concert but not when singled out to perform solo under the critical eye of the director.
- Once the right conditions are met it triggers an intense physiological reaction that is beyond the control of conscious, logical thinking process.
- Often just talking about it can recreate the negative experience which is why I don’t recommend talk therapy for this (Nothing against talk therapy just not for phobias or panic attacks because it can actually strengthen the negative reaction).
- One really good technique, like the one I walk people through on my clearfear.com site ( click here to see How to “Stop Anxiety In 10 Minutes or Less” ) is often enough to totally change the experience. BUT sometimes we need help outside of ourselves in the form of a coach or therapist or fellow NLP student to enable us to get the distance or leverage needed to clear the deeper underlying causes and triggers.
In the Modern Jedi NLP training my team and I have all been through our own versions of hell and have each used NLP to clear our stuff. There have been times when I called each of my students and had them help ME clear stuff I was having trouble clearing on my own. They’ve helped each other as well.
That is why I’m so damned passionate about creating a community of practitioners here in Connecticut as well as across the USA and around the world.
Please forgive me if I quote my own lyrics:
Can’t do it by myself
So I’m asking for your help
Together we can change the world
Together we can change the world…
Thanks Inga for being willing to share your story and your challenges so freely.
p.s. I’m intently at work on creating several multi media NLP lessons that I can hopefully put up on the web in the next few weeks that will give you more tools you can use whether you take the Modern Jedi NLP training in July or not. I’ll set them up so you can do them on your own or with a friend.
p.p.s Please join the conversation and leave your thoughts and comments below!