Acting skills become useful in classroom

Anxiety is something that is very difficult for college students. We all have to deal with tests, jobs, tuition and even anxiety about getting that internship we applied for.

So it is no surprise that the average American citizen today has the same anxiety levels of a patient of a mental hospital from the 1950s.

There is no doubt that we have many stressors in our lives. However, there is one major stimulus that causes me the most anxiety. I tend to experience the most anxiety in social situations.

Even though I experience anxiety from something that is not a life and death situation, I do not feel it is all that uncommon. People often fear other people.

I guess it is no surprise, considering that most people fear rejection and I could be rejected at any time, that I have this anxiety. However, that is not the case the majority of the time. Often, I feel anxious because I have the fear of being judged for saying something stupid. Why do we fear judgment from others?

Well it is very common for us to talk behind others’ backs. Let’s face it we all have done it at least once. And when we do, we think I really don’t want to be like that person – or at least I do anyway.

Even listening to somebody complaining about others, we think, “I really hope somebody does not say that about me,” whether or not we agree with the complaining. Let’s face it. Every type of person known to man has been complained about.

Even though anxiety is common, it can get in the way of many daily life activities. Sometimes during class, I have difficulty saying what is on my mind. Even during my first rehearsal as a director, I would not say my opinion because I somehow managed to convince myself that it did not matter.

So I really needed to change this, and I decided to give it a try. One of the sayings I have heard countless times is “Fake it till you make it!” I decided why not try this out. After all, I act for the Schuster Theatre so I am really good at pretending. I decided to use my acting skills in real life to help with anxiety. This is very useful when practicing teaching during my education field placements. I discovered it is useful to come up with a character when presenting class material.

At first it felt very uneasy. I guess this is because at first I assumed that one must be loud and talkative to prove they are comfortable. This really is not true.

Sometimes the most comfortable people observe and speak only when necessary. So I decided to transform into one of those calm quiet people…or at least appear to be. And it started to work.

I am still an anxious person, but sometimes acting as a comfortable person really does make me feel comfortable.

To make it a game, I tried to make myself appear as the most comfortable person in the room a few times. So far, I only achieved it when there were two people in a room.

I guess if I learned anything from this, acting skills can be useful in lowering anxiety in real-life situations.



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