Some public-speaking courses advocate the following technique for nervous speakers: imagine your audience sitting stark naked in front of you, or imagine your audience not as a group of human beings but as a group of monkeys.
This technique works for many public speakers. It is an example of what is known as "framing technique' that also is useful in managing anxiety.
In case of the public speaker, this helps by reframing his/her fears or anxieties (in this case, an audience) into one that was not only less threatening, but possibly even amusing.
Framing is very useful in treating phobias and irrational fears. It can be modified to treat everyday problems like tension and stress.
One of the best and simple explanation of how this technique can be used in relaxing is given by Paul Wilson, author of 'Instant Calm.' Here is what Paul recommends you do in case of anxiety and stress:
"To begin with, framing requires you to be able to visualize your fear. Or to visualize yourself in whatever state is bothering you: stress, anxiety, tension.
Allow that image to take form on your big screen. Note the surrounding visual details: the images that accompany it, the environment you are situated in.
When that picture is well formulated, mentally put it inside a cute little wooden frame. See it as a harmless, nicely framed little picture.
After your fear or anxiety is neatly contained in that little frame, experiment with redefining it. The object of this is to make your worries look as trivial and as harmless as possible.
If it's your angry, cigar-smoking boss that distresses you, try to picture him with Shirley Temple curls and wearing a floral nightdress. If your picture is of yourself in a state of extreme anxiety add a funny nose and a clown costume, or Mickey Mouse ears, or whatever it takes to remove the serious edge from your feelings.
Now turn up the 'brightness control' on your big screen.
Later, should any re-occurrence of your fear or anxiety appear, simply conjure up your redefined image of it, and be amazed at how quickly it ceases to have any negative effect on you."
The Framing Technique
Sit in a comfortable chair. Remove your shoes.
On your big screen conjure up an image of yourself under stress. Or an image of your fear. Concentrate on the visual details surrounding it.
Place that image in a cute little wooden frame. Note the details of the entire picture -you or your fear, plus the cute little wooden
Have some fun with the image in the frame. Make it amusing and harmless. Maybe fit Mickey Mouse ears to it.
When you have redefined the image, turn up the 'brightness control' on your big
If your fear or anxiety resurfaces, simply recall that trivialized image from the frame.
Source: Paul Wilson: Instant Calm, Plume/Penguin Press
for stress management
Diversion and Distraction
for stress management