Imagine you’re chosen to speak on a particular topic, you do the preparation, and then you freeze when it’s time to speak. Your heart starts to skip beats, your hands get sweaty, and suddenly all the attentive listeners in the audience seem like your harshest critics.
If it sounds like a disaster, it isn’t the end of the world, but it can be quite uncomfortable. With new and ancient nootropic remedies, it’s possible to prevent social anxiety whether you are speaking at a live event or just spending time at a friendly party.
Public Speaking – What’s the Worry?
If the fate above sounds disastrous, it’s happened to many people before including some of the best speakers in the world. A fear of public speaking is called “glassophobia”, but it is a general form of anxiety about being seen, scrutinized, and judged by others.
While psychologists like to come up with a name for everything, speaking in front of an audience is a unique emotional experience whether we admit it or not. Like Mark Twain once said “there are two kinds of speakers: those that are nervous and those that are liars.”
You’re going to be nervous and that’s okay. We’ve got some methods you can use to handle your fear of speaking in addition to your general anxiety in social situations.
Keep Calm and Speech On
In the world of nootropics, we are still in a phase where there are natural herbs and extracts used for thousands of years contrasted with experimental drugs that have only anecdotal evidence. Still others are a combination of both, but here is a breakdown of the nootropics that might help you for public speaking and social anxiety.
Public Speaking and Social Anxiety
Aniracetam – most of the racetam family is known for memory and learning enhancement. Surprisingly, there is one anxiety-reducing analog. Aniracetam helps people with generalized anxiety disorder to reduce their tension. While there are a couple studies on the subject, the anecdotal evidence from across Longecity and Reddit support this thesis. Here are a few quotes that should suffice:
“Aniracetam has severely reduced my anxiety, has allowed me to take back control of my life and has given me a new sense of purpose…” – Reddit member “simplicitea”
“Music sounds awesome, I get really creative and spiritual, very little stress/anxiety, no depression…” – Reddit member “Fugglor”
L-Theanine – this amino acid is derived from green tea and helps to improve relaxation and alpha brain waves. Usually it is consumed with caffeine, but as we will explain below it is better to take L-theanine by itself if you are struggling with anxiety or speaking publicly.
Ashwagandha – used in ancient Indian Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha is still a popular nootropic herb today. Many see improved emotional and mental clarity, but for anxiety and public speaking it is particularly useful as a calming option that can compete with prescription drugs.
Mucuna Pruriens – this natural plant from Africa has been used by locals for hundreds of years. Mucuna pruriens offers the brain added dopamine, which increases feelings of happiness and decreases stress. It also helps you to feel a lot more confident, which is something you need during a speaking engagement.
Lemon Balm – this is a great nootropic, but it can be sedative and cause drowsiness. Each individual reacts differently to this at different doses and times. The first time we tested lemon balm, it was incredibly powerful and sedating. In more recent times, the experience has not been as strong as it once was, but has been soothing enough to help in social situations.
Nootropics to Avoid
Caffeine – it’s something we all enjoy, but if you are doing a lot of public speaking, try to avoid caffeine the day of the event. Everybody is different, but the more caffeine in your system, the more likely you are to build up adrenaline in the brain. That added adrenaline in the brain creates a dry tinder effect where any mass stress (such as speaking) can be the catalyst for a panic attack. Even if this doesn’t happen, you can experience more anxiety simply due to adrenaline and cortisol.
Phenylpiracetam – while this is a tremendously powerful nootropic for stimulation and concentration, having such intensity before a speaking engagement can make things much worse. While it might be good for working out in the gym or a difficult session of work, it’s definitely best if you avoid this before a speaking engagement.
Out on a Limb – Fringe Nootropics to Help with Public Speaking
Disclaimer: These nootropics and smart drug options are predominantly recorded through anecdotal evidence of community members. Some are prescription drugs and we do not recommend taking these without a prescription.
Selank – This Russian peptide was developed in Russia, which can help to modulate the immune system. It increases BDNF (fertilizer for your brain) as well as the brain chemical serotonin, which is useful for relaxing and reducing stress. The human studies show it is effective for treating generalized anxiety disorder.
Modafinil – While there are plenty of people who consider Modafinil to be a wonder drug, it is a prescription option that should not be taken lightly. Tim Ferriss has mentioned that speakers of TED talks use it to feel more confident, but has also indicated “there is no such thing as a free lunch” on a podcast.
Propranolol – This obscure option is over the counter from online pharmacies. While you may have never heard of it before, it is often used by musicians to treat stage fright in addition to surgeons who get hand tremors. There is some anecdotal evidence and discussion on Reddit on the topic.
Oxytocin – In the same Reddit thread, users mention using oxytocin spray in order to increase optimism and self-esteem. While the studies are a stretch, this does provide some evidence that oxytocin can help overcome anxiety in social situations and speaking engagements. This is the same chemical that is released during sexual encounters and physical contact.
Big Picture – Habits to Solve Speaking And Social Anxiety
If you have ever been in a super uncomfortable social situation or speaking engagement, you probably remember every bitter aspect of the experience. While nootropics are powerful and effective tools, working on yourself in different ways can provide exponential results for reducing anxiety and stress associated with social situations. Here are some good options to start.
Meditation / mindfulness – We have written extensively about the benefits of meditation for altering your brain. It can also help you to achieve a more relaxed mindset towards stressful social situations. Once you become aware of your habits, you can stop them before they become overwhelming.
Know your material – The greatest way to be confident at a speaking engagement is preparation. Some of the most confident speakers are only that way because they have worked on their material for so long beforehand. Prepare it over and over again.
Speak in front of a mirror so you can get used to seeing yourself. Pretend you have an audience and visualize them in front of you. If you have had the experience and spoken a thousand times (whether to yourself or in your mind), suddenly the real thing isn’t the first experience!
Don’t plan everything – One of the greatest things you can do is to add a level of playful spontaneity in your speaking. Nothing goes according to plan and the more you have spontaneous aspects incorporated into your engagement, the better off you are going to be. You will feel more comfortable, your audience will enjoy it more, and you’ll be better off replying.