In this episode, John talks with Mindset Coach, Creativity Counsellor, Holistic Hypnotherapist, and Author Elisa Di Napoli about combining scientific and holistic approaches to managing stage fright.

Elisa talks about the reasons how and why stage fright happens. Moreover, she explains the magic of hypnosis and how people experience this every day as a form of relaxation. But, she concluded the conversation by discussing the scientific and holistic approaches to overcoming this fear.

The Multitalented Mind Coach

Elisa Di Napoli is a singer-songwriter who studied philosophy at a university, which led her to dive and explore the realm of religion. She says it’s weird, but this guided her to learn the concepts behind states of consciousness.

Her education escorted her to shamanism and hypnotherapy’s strange yet unthinkable world. Elisa thoughtfully associated the idea behind science – psychology, and talent – singing to accurately understand stage fright and how to successfully overcome this fear.

Through these years of learning and observations, she became one of the most sought-after mindset coaches in the country.

Understanding the Concept Behind Stage Fright

Performance Anxiety

Anxiousness comes and goes, especially when you’re preparing for something huge. No one can guarantee how the performance can and will proceed, despite the days, months, and years of practicing, memorizing and perfecting every detail, from lines to blockings.

Failures, mistakes, and unpredicted events can occur from time to time, primarily if the production is conducted and streamed live. But these unfortunate situations all come down to rejection and fear of failure.

Rejection is evolutionary,” Elisa claimed; this idea might not make sense. But, she explained this theory with a simple example: Suppose you’re in a tribe, and suddenly they turn their backs on you, leaving you clueless and dumbfounded. In this case, you can lose your life quickly since you don’t have someone you can depend on.

Performance anxiety is normal, but it can be traumatizing as well. This mentality can eventually be paralyzing and turn into a social anxiety disorder that needs immediate professional and medical attention.

Elisa explains in connection to stage fright that people with this type of fear turn on their fight-or-flight response. With this way of thinking, their alarm system, which is the reptilian brain, activates. On the other hand, the rational brain, responsible for responding to certain situations with good judgment and awareness of long-term consequences, is inactivated.

During performances, especially for individuals experiencing the symptoms of stage fright, it would be hard to be and stay rational about anything and everything. Listening to positive reasons, suggestions, and affirmations might be challenging to understand and appreciate.

A Type of Social Anxiety: Stage Fright

Anxiety-related stage fright can be triggered because of two different forms of learning or types of mindset – conditioning (stuck in the past) and negative mental rehearsal (projecting the future). Incorporating these two together can leave the performers in a double whammy, leading to a strong case of stage fright and social anxiety.


Conditioning is a psychologically-related type of learning that evokes a response through a given stimulus or with increasing regularity in a well-specified and stable environment. This fear, conditioning allies with past experiences, such as rejections, judgments, and being laughed at, suddenly comes to light.

It doesn’t matter how big or small the incident is. Still, the fact that those memories were traumatic and scarring can trigger agitation and panic during performances. Because of these embarrassing impressions of the past, anything remotely resembling that state will be tagged as dangerous.

Negative Mental Rehearsal

Negative mental rehearsal can happen unexpectedly or alongside conditioning; this occurs when a performer starts to experience feelings of anxiety about the what-ifs of the performance. When this happens, the person involved might imagine the fearful situations and worst-case scenarios that can occur before the show commences.

The explanation behind this concept is that the human brain cannot differentiate our imagination from reality. If the mind transmits the “I’m in danger” message, that would be the performer’s mindset throughout the show.

Ideal Techniques for Overcoming Stage Fright

Calming the Nervous System

The fight-to-flight alarm system activates, leading to severe performance anxiety and fear. One effective way to address this challenging situation and pull off your singing performance is to calm the nervous system.

Checking your body during this stressful situation must be a priority. Make an effort to contemplate, reframe, and change your thinking. Condition the mind, set aside those painful past experiences, and live within the moment. In such a manner, you can practice the basic human ability of “mindfulness.”

You can successfully carry these out with two (2) strategies:

Aerobic Exercises

  • It is the practice of soothing one’s mind and body before the actual performance by increasing the heart rate. Move and change positions by walking, going up and down the stairs, and doing jumping jacks within the area.
  • This is a way to trick the brain that you’ll be entering a possibly dangerous situation. Still, you’ve fought with this enemy several times and won.


  • Try to perform a few breathing exercises to ease your social phobia. It is a calming action of closing the mouth and breathing through the nose; inhale and slowly exhale within five minutes. Start with slow breathing activities, then carefully adjust to rapid breathing measures.
  • This strategy can prevent performers from hyperventilating. It convinces the mind and body to activate the parasympathetic nervous system to inactivate the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the fight-to-flight response.

The best way to calm the nervous system is to combine these two by first doing aerobic exercises, following aromatic breathing. Moreover, it would be advisable to include these activities in your daily exercise routine.


Once the nervous system has calmed down, it’s time to connect with your emotions and feelings. Take advantage of the potential of positive words, such as affirmations and suggestions, through hypnosis.

The emotional brain holds more power than the rational brain. Once we say something to ourselves, we tend to imagine it immediately and attempt to connect with that emotion. As a result, those traumas, triggers, and overthinking can all be shattered.

Elisa explains that using these optimistic assertions can help performers deal with their past issues, and focus on the present, thus overcoming stage fright and leading to positive outcomes.

Scale the Fear to Bring Out the Best in You

Battling over traumatic social situation experiences and trying to be the best version of oneself is a brutal confrontation to win against. Everyone is unique, and so are our ways of coping with a particular situation.

Elisa has a set of advice for people, especially professional actors, performers, and singers, to address this concern:

  • Never put yourself into an overwhelming situation, particularly if you’re not up and ready to enter the battle.
  • Start doing the process one step at a time; go for practices that make you feel safe and comfortable.
  • Practice makes perfect; this is a proven and tested cure for stage fright.
  • List your past experiences on stage and rate them from one to ten. One is the situation that gives you the least anxiety, and ten represents the event that conferred you with the most fear.
  • Try to work the lowest number out until you’ve mastered everything about it, then proceed to the next one.

Postmortem Approaches After a Tough Performance

Stage performance is a tough battle to enter; anyone can have the talent, but only some have the potential and nerve to step on a platform and be part of the show. It takes a lot of courage and willingness to get into the world of entertainment.

Here’s a message from Elisa every performer needs to hear:

Focus on the positives rather than berating yourself with the negatives.”

The quotation serves as a friendly reminder for stage fright sufferers to balance out positive self-talk and negative perceptions. The first thing that must come into mind is that you did well, you’ve improved, and you’re better than yesterday.

Always be kind to yourself, and concentrate on the areas where you can upgrade and revamp. Take it slowly but surely, one aspect at a time, get that mastered, and move on to the next.

Focus. Get that done. Make it an easy win.

Encourage every bit and piece of your persona until you meet the best version of yourself. Talking about music and singing: straighten out your thoughts, never panic, feel the moment, and the next thing you know, your body is in sync with the flow and rhythm of the music.

Stay in touch

To learn more about Elisa Di Napoli, visit:

For her free book go to:

To learn more about John Henny, his best-selling books, courses, John’s Singing School, and the Contemporary Voice Teacher Academy, visit: