汗湿的手，赛车的心，灯头 - 这些感受熟悉吗？如果你害怕公开发言，这些感觉可能是当你在工作的会议上说话时压倒了你，在课堂上发表，或者在婚礼上发表演讲。或者可能是你是众多人之一，避免公开的人完全发言，很大程度上损害了你的工作或学校表演，或者你的朋友和家人的挫败感。像它可能让你觉得一样奇怪，你绝对不是孤单。在一项研究中，34％的人报告说他们是关于公众发言的“比其他人更紧张”。1
We know from research studies on anxiety that the best way to tackle your public speaking fear is to face it head on–to get out there and practice!2However, there might be even more you can do. In a recent study I led at the Anxiety and Depression Research Center at UCLA, we found that in addition to practicing public speaking, identifying the emotions you experience while practicing can lead to even greater reductions in anxiety.
Identifying Your Feelings Before You Practice Your Speech Can Help
In our study, which was published in the journalBehavior Research and Therapy,3我们招募了大学生和洛杉矶社区的成员，他报告了严重焦虑，频繁地避免公众演讲。为了获得对参与者的焦虑水平的基线评估，我们要求他们在衡量他们的心率和汗水水平的同时在观众面前发表演讲。这些措施提供了对每个参与者的焦虑水平的客观评估，所以只要要求参与者报告他们感到多么焦虑。
We then assigned participants to one of two groups. In one group, participants practiced giving many speeches in front of a small audience, which we know from prior research helps to reduce anxiety. In the other group, participants practiced speeches, but before each speech, identified the emotion they were feeling at that moment, such as, "anxious," "nervous," or "afraid," by choosing from options displayed on a computer screen. Participants also identified what they feared might go wrong during the speech, such as, "the audience will laugh at me," "they will think I'm stupid," or "they won't like what I'm saying."
After the participants completed 20 practice speeches, we tested them again. As measured from the beginning of the practice sessions to the end, those who identified their emotions and fears prior to each speech experienced a greater reduction in anxiety than participants who gave speeches without labeling emotions and fears.
Labeling Your Emotions Activates Brain Regions That Reduce Anxiety
We believe that our research findings can be explained by what happens in the brain when a person labels his or her emotions. For example, when you put your emotions into words, you activate areas of the brain including the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, which is involved in controlling negative feelings, such as anxiety. We believe that by including emotion labeling alongside your public speaking practice, you are actually exercising this area of the brain, which helps you reduce your anxiety response. There is growing evidence that people with anxiety disorders have difficulty activating brain regions involved in controlling anxiety. Treatments that specifically target these regions' capacity to down regulate negative emotions may be correcting this deficit.
Observe How You Feel and Label it!
你可能正在阅读这个并思考自己，等待，这不对。告诉自己，我感到紧张，实际上会让我不那么紧张吗？但答案实际上是“是的!" Most people do not believe that labeling a negative emotion without trying to change it will make them feel better, but in many different studies, researchers have found that this is in fact the case.4,5,6,7,8例如，当人们查看图形和令人毛骨悚然的图像然后标记图像的某些方面或对其的情绪反应时，他们报告了遇险的减少，即使他们预测他们的痛苦将因标签而增加。他们还显示与负面情绪经验有关的地区大脑活动的相应减少。
通过这些研究，科学似乎开始表明，试图通过替换积极的方式来看光明的一面或推开消极的想法和感受，可能不是改善心情的唯一途径。现代疗法（通常被称为“第三”波疗法）从佛教中抽取并采用谨慎的做法to promote a new way of thinking. The goal in these treatments is simply to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings, both positive and negative, and not to try to change them. The finding in this public speaking study seems to align with this new (yet, old) way of thinking. The goal is to notice, identify, and label the negative emotions and thoughts that plague you when you get up in front of an audience––without trying to change them.
Our research findings are easy to put to use. Here are some tips for tackling your public speaking anxiety by combining emotion labeling with practice:
1.Schedule Practice Sessions With Increasing Intensity
Start by standing in front of a mirror and giving a short speech about your favorite food or sport. Then ask a friend or family member to act as an audience member. Set a goal to speak up in your work meeting or in class 3 times a week. When you are ready to go even further, plan to give a speech at a wedding, do a work or school presentation, or attend a Toastmasters meeting.Toastmastersis a national organization that provides a setting for people to practice public speaking. Practice as often as you can, and aim to seek out and take on public speaking opportunities instead of avoiding them.
2.Before Each Practice, Label Your Emotions and Every Possible Pitfall
Before you get up to speak, write down the emotions that you are feeling. Do you feel afraid, nervous, panicky, anxious, terrified? What are you afraid might happen while you are speaking? Will people laugh at you? Might you make a mistake? Could you forget what you wanted to say? Write down as many negative emotions and possible negative outcomes as you can–the more the better! Do not focus on the positive; focus on the negative! Then, get up and speak.
3.Don't Let too Much Time Pass Between Practices
After one practice, you may feel so overwhelmed that you decide that it might be best if you take a break and wait until next month to practice again. However, it is more effective to practice consistently without letting too much time pass in between. Setting a goal of three or more practices per week would be ideal. Even if you feel very anxious while practicing or haven't noticed any improvement in your anxiety level, it does not mean that this method isn't working. Keep working at it, and giving a speech will get easier.
Anxiety-Free Public Speaking is Within Your Reach
It is extremely common to feel anxious while public speaking, but there are many things you can do to reduce your anxiety. As suggested above, find opportunities to practice your public speaking, and do not shy away from anxious thoughts and feelings. In addition to trying the tips above, you may benefit from working with a therapist who is knowledgeable and experienced in using认知行为治疗to treat anxiety disorders.
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1斯坦,m . B。沃克, J. R., & Forde, D. R. (1996). Public-speaking fears in a community sample. Prevalence, impact on functioning, and diagnostic classification.Archives of General Psychiatry,53.(2), 169–174.
2 Tolin，D. F.（2010）。认知行为疗法是否比其他疗法更有效？元分析审查。Clinical Psychology Review,30(6), 710–720. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2010.05.003
3 Niles, A. N., Craske. M. G., Lieberman, M. D. & Hur, C.* (2015) Affect labeling enhances exposure effectiveness for public speaking anxiety.Behavior Research and Therapy,68., 27-36.
4 Gorno-Tempini，M.L.，Pradelli，S.，Serafini，M.，Pagnoni，G.，Baraldi，P.，Porro，C.，... Nichelli，P.（2001）。明确和偶然的面部表情处理：FMRI研究。neuroimage.,14（2），465-473。DOI：10.1006 / NIMG.2001.0811
5 Hariri, A. R., Bookheimer, S. Y., & Mazziotta, J. C. (2000). Modulating emotional responses: Effects of a neocortical network on the limbic system.neuroreport.,11（1），43-48。
6 Hariri, A. R., Mattay, V. S., Tessitore, A., Fera, F., & Weinberger, D. R. (2003). Neocortical modulation of the amygdala response to fearful stimuli.Biological Psychiatry,53.（6），494-501。
7 Lieberman，M. D.，Inagaki，T.K.，塔布尼亚，G.，＆Crockett，M. J.（2011）。在标记，重新评估和分心期间对情绪刺激的主观反应。Emotion,11（3），468-480。DOI：10.1037 / A0023503
Date of original publication:May 13, 2015