Beat Stress, Boost Confidence

When you're anticipating a high-pressure audition, it's no wonder if your stress levels are heightened. And a little performance anxiety isn't necessarily a bad thing. But a recent study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology found that high stress levels could affect your confidence and decision-making skills in competitive situations.

Swiss researchers reported that participants with higher levels of the hormone cortisol (when released in response to stress and anxiety) had lower confidence levels, and were less likely to make decisions that would give them an advantage in a competitive environment. The thought is that when our confidence is down, we tend to avoid taking risks in an effort to avoid feeling like we've failed if we're unsuccessful. In other words, you might be more likely to hold back and play it safe rather than really going for it in your dancing.

So if you're feeling the pressure before your next audition, think about working some stress-relief into your preparation, whether that's trying a few meditation exercises, talking it out with a friend or listening to music while you warm up. You'll be that much more ready to give it your all when you hit the studio.

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