A Mindful Approach to Reducing Adolescent Performance Anxiety
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In the performing arts, anxiety is a common experience due to the fact that the performer is exposed and vulnerable on stage. For many performers this anxiety can inhibit their creative expression and ability to perform. In adolescence, performance related anxiety is closely connected to social and emotional development. Negative self-concept and the perception of a judgmental audience (both imaginary and real) are key factors in both social and performance anxiety in adolescents. Those adolescent performers who have learned to regulate their emotions, accept their own potential to succeed or fail, and reframe negative self-talk in to positive selfaffirming thoughts, are more likely to be able to manage performance anxiety. The practice of mindfulness can help to develop these skills in adolescent performers. This research project explores the potential of incorporating a mindfulness-based program in to the secondary Fine Arts curriculum, so as to support the social and emotional development of adolescent students, and reduce the symptoms of performance anxiety.