A few months ago I was suggested to read Habits of a Happy Brain, by Loretta G. Breuning, PhD, founder of the Inner Mammal Institute.

I found it immensely interesting to learn about our brain’s evolution, with a focus on the hormones that drive our desires, happy feelings, sense of threat and more.

I asked Loretta for an interview, so that we could zoom in on what happens to performing artists’ brains and bodies when they are in the spotlight. Also, I was curious as to why some performers feel energized by being on stage, while others feel threatened. And who has the power anyway, in the spotlight — our brain, our body or our emotional self?

Turns out, that the conventional wisdom of our brain as a super-hero, capable of walking our emotions on a leash any time is not true at all.  In reality, all the influence our brain has in threatening situations is the power to shout “Time Out!”. Also, it turns out that our general reaction to the spotlight does not depend on our genetics, but on experience — the neural pathways shaped in childhood and solidified ever since. Stage fright is a learned reaction, and with proper re-wiring of your neural pathways, you can replace it with a more constructive one. All you need is commitment.

Enjoy deepening this and more in Loretta’s interview!

Giorgia Ghizzoni
The Creative Way Around