General Question

wundayatta's avatar

How do you loosen up?

Asked by wundayatta (58625points) October 12th, 2008

You’re getting ready for a performance—maybe theater, maybe dance, maybe music, a playoff game, or perhaps the big presentation to the board. It’s extremely important you do well.

You are very nervous. What do you do to loosen up a bit? Drugs (legal or illegal)? Joking around? Playing practical jokes on folks you are working with? Going to the bathroom and crying?

What’s your way of loosening up, when you have too much tension to perform well?

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26 Answers

loser's avatar

Ativan!

El_Cadejo's avatar

smoke a bowl

girlofscience's avatar

@petethepothead and uberbatman: Weed makes you loosen up?! Weed would make me TERRIFIED to perform.

JackAdams's avatar

Very seriously, if there is time, I’ll head down to my local athletic club and either sit in the steam room, or soak in the hot tub for awhile, until I feel completely relaxed.

trumi's avatar

Music, a cold drink, and joking with someone. Uneasy laughter always helps me feel better.

-@girlofscience: Totally agree. So does Mitch Hedberg :D

Some people think I’m high on stage; I would never get high before a show, because, when I’m high, I don’t wanna stand in front of a bunch of people I don’t know. That does not sound comfortable. Like, when you’re high, and a joke doesn’t work, it’s extra scary. It’s like,“Whoa, what the hell happened there? I am retreating within myself. Why have all these people gathered? And why am I elevated? Why am I not facing the same way as everyone else? And what is this electric stick in my hand?”

El_Cadejo's avatar

@girlofscience the key is to smoke the right amount. You cant go getting ripped or anything just a little hit or two to give you that nice body high.

shadling21's avatar

Building up that nervous tension makes the amazing calm when I’m on stage that much more significant. I like to feel that I’m a completely different person.

I usually stretch, but my mind can’t get away from what’s about to happen.

gailcalled's avatar

@loser; SIDE EFFECTS: The most common side effects associated with lorazepam (ativan) are sedation (15.9% of patients), dizziness (6.9% of patients), weakness, and unsteadiness. Others….. include a feeling of depression, loss of orientation, headache, and sleep disturbance.

I can’t see that giving you an edge necessary to perform well. ZZZing on stage? It’s been awhile but I always felt that the hiss of the guillotine blade descending gave me a shot of adrenaline.

girlofscience's avatar

@uberbatman: I know about smoking the right amount! But even a slight body high doesn’t make me ready to do something I’d be nervous about doing.

wundayatta's avatar

I was nervous before my first dance performance. The performance was about the politics of the things men do to make it through life. It had a lot of weird stuff in it, and I started kind of making fun of it to the guy who had written the piece.

He, of course, had his own nervous ritual and I don’t believe it involved making fun of the work he had sweated blood to create. Anyway, each of us had our own ways, but they weren’t very compatible ways.

I didn’t notice the effect I was having on him, and the next thing I know, he grabs my by the neck, and shakes me, and tells me in no uncertain terms that he did not like me making fun of his work. Sigh. That was not a good tension reducer, to say the least.

arnbev959's avatar

@girlofscience: I’m kind of shy, so I’ll never really be ready to give a presentation or talk to a large group of people. But a little weed does help slightly in calming me down and helping me think clearly.

wundayatta's avatar

A lot of the musicians I play with like to smoke a little weed before playing. They say it kind of straightens them out. And this is in siuations where there is no audience, or the audience is guaranteed friendly.

I guess I don’t trust the notion that this helps them.

shadling21's avatar

@daloon – What kind of dance was this? I’m a dancer, myself.

As a choreographer, if I heard people commenting about my work before it’s performed, I would flip out even more, wondering if I had made the right choices in representing the music/theme/story/whatnot. I’m not surprised the guy in charge got mad. Obviously, he shouldn’t strangle or shake you… Did he hurt you?!?

Whenever I’m about to go on, I don’t take anything my colleagues say or do to heart. If someone starts yapping about insignificant ways to improve our performance (which usually happens), I tune it out. Not much point worrying about the minor details. If someone in the group responds to the stress by becoming a total biatch, I let it go.

happyhanse's avatar

In case I am seriously nervous, I would take a deep breath and tell myself, Ok, think about it as if I were at the same time and same place a week later. Nobody here to make I nervous. Everything will go smoothly as it should have done. It’s just a process. Or, think it like it is my friend asked me to do it here. And I will try my best. As for the result, never think about it. It’s not my falut if I failed. It is just because you asked me to do here.~Well sounds irresponsible, but really usefull. Have a try!

wundayatta's avatar

@shadling, My tension reducer is to get really snarky. I don’t even really know that I’m all wound up. But I just start cracking wise. Yeah, it can get annoying. No he didn’t hurt me. He apologized later, and years later we can laugh about it, though we never worked together again, and I don’t dance much now.

Magnus's avatar

J Dilla – Donuts

augustlan's avatar

Xanax. A small dose of .25 MG is perfect to just calm me, and not make me too tired to do what must be done.

nocountry2's avatar

I picture it going as awfully as possible, all the things that could go wrong that I’m secretly terrified of. Then I take a few slow, deep breaths, and picture it going as awesome as possible – acing the test, getting the job, a standing ovation, signing the movie deal or whatever. Then I remember some of the things I’ve done that I’m pretty sure VERY few people have had the balls to do or go through, and I think, well fuck, If I can do that, then I can sure as hell do this.

wenbert's avatar

Marlboro FTW!

wildflower's avatar

- 1 hour: stress through my checklist of preparations
– 20 mins: chainsmoke
– 10 mins: find a quiet spot, spend 5 mins with eyes closed, taking deep breaths to calm myself
– 5 mins: be ready (being early helps)

unacornea's avatar

as a performer i just really try to stay inside myself, breathe, remind myself that i only have those few moments on stage to have that experience so i should try to be present and take it in. i like doing sound and movement games/exercises with other people backstage (like throwing a ball of energy to each other, or doing improv singing/sound-making). i like it when there is a backstage area to be before going on stage, vs. playing at bars and stuff where you’re supposed to hang out with people and socialize until it’s time to go onstage. it’s hard for me to take things in before getting on stage, i need to be able to focus on what i’m doing.

boffin's avatar

Time release Quaaludes…...

deaddolly's avatar

i take deep breaths. if there’s time…I sleep as much as I can.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Yes, breathing deeply is very important. More oxygen entering the brain is good.

In college, I interned on a show where the star would loosen up by pacing the hall outside his studio and psyching himself up. It seemed to work for him.

I tried it and it didn’t work for me. :(

I think it’s something to do with how much of a stake we’re putting into a particular situation. I know I’m trying to retrain my thoughts into “Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff.” That might help. I’ll see how well I’ve taken it on the next time some attractive fellow is nearby and I want to talk to him, but find myself frozen. Because otherwise, I sure as hell don’t know.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

I don’t. I usually go in cold turkey and face the stress and pressure outright. It’s hard, but I always end up feeling great after the experience.

Other than that, making love is a good pressure reliever for me.

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