How to handle nerves when guiding meditations or presenting.

Today I had a really interesting conversation with the Diploma supervision group on how to handle nerves when guiding meditation or presenting to a group. I thought it might be really useful to share some of this collectively gathered wisdom and experience with all of you. So I hope you find it helpful for your next presentation or meditation teaching session:

  1. Maintain your current meditation practice and experiment with methods that make you feel calm and provide a lasting experience of calm such as relaxation and mindfulness of the body. Visualizing a successful event (start at least a week beforehand) in your regular practice can set positive foundations in your mind. When you are visualizing, start by getting grounded and relaxing the body thoroughly and then move into the visualization, keeping a connection with the positive feelings you will experience: joy, satisfaction, excitement, competency, confidence and anything else you can imagine. Bask in these feelings and visuals for a time before grounding again to close.
  2. Arrive at the venue or start preparing your space well ahead of time so that you are not rushing to prepare. It may mean paying a little extra money for the space, but you will feel much calmer in the end so it will be worth it.  (Half an hour was suggested as a reasonable time, but if you were running a full day workshop it might be longer).
  3. Use grounding practices to stay well grounded and to balance the sometimes overwhelming inner sensations of butterflies and sicky stomach.  This means becoming aware of your visual surroundings, sounds, tastes, feet on the ground and sensation of clothing on your body, smells etc.  For stubborn sensations, take your focus to or create stronger outer sensations that match the intensity of your inner sensations. You can do this by pressing your feet against the floor, clutching the arms of a chair tightly or creating another kind of strong sensation on your skin.
  4. Be kind to yourself. Befriend your feelings of fear and nervousness by holding them with compassion and remembering we are all human. Normalise your feelings by reminding yourself that it’s natural to feel nervous when you’re trying something new that is out of your comfort zone. Reframe your nervousness as excitement and anticipation of an exciting event.
  5. Start your presentation or session with a joke. Laughter helps you and your group break through the nerves, connect and relax.
  6. Make sure that you are thoroughly prepared for the session or event. This will go a long way to easing your mind. The more experience you gather at this kind of speaking, the easier it will get.
  7. Drop into your heartspace and connect to the care and love you have for the people that have come to your group. Feel these feelings consciously and you will move into a compassionate and connected state of consciousness that will help to melt away nerves.

Thank you to my wonderful Diploma supervision group for these helpful suggestions and I hope they help you get out there and shine!

Photo by Elliot Sloman on Unsplash

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