Let’s first get clear about what causes a fear of public speaking; for if we don’t properly diagnose the cause, we cannot properly treat the condition.
One thing and one thing only causes a fear of public speaking: thought. Nothing external of the individual causes the fear of public speaking or ANY OTHER fear. Fear in every case is caused by thinking.
Do you believe this? Or do you believe that fear is in fact caused by external conditions? If you believe that fear is caused by external conditions your fears will never end. Should you somehow get over the fear of public speaking another fear will ultimately takes its place.
Let me give a description of how a fear of public speaking comes about (this model can be generally applied to all other fears as well):
A public speaking opportunity or obligation appears. This opportunity or obligation is mentally interpreted and mentally labeled as something “bad” and also as a danger to your self. In response to this thinking an emotional reaction occurs that you label “fear”. Mental movies may start to play showing bad outcomes from your public speaking, generating more “fear” reactions.
Fear is an internal process, not an external one. Always. Always. Always.
But what about reasonable or healthy fear? What about fear that causes one to avert genuinely dangerous circumstances? We do not need to feel fear to take care of our physical form. Fear is not healthy and is not necessary. Fear is a destructive response that causes physical and emotional stress.
None of this is to say that fear somehow shouldn’t happen. Most of us have been feeling fear reactions over the course of our entire lives: for many of us the fear experience has become ingrained. To condemn fear then is not a realistic or reasonable reaction.
If one wants to reduce fear response, including the fear of public speaking, there is a simple method for doing this that typically works very quickly. Before getting to that, let’s first discuss what not to do.
I have come across much advice for overcoming fear and it almost always involves taking action to eliminate the fear. We are advised to do this or to do that with the motivation and intention of making the fear go away.
This is an ineffective strategy. It represents force, resistance force in this case, and force applied leads to force returned. Push against something and watch it return force in some way or another. Stop pushing and force ends.
See how true this law of force is by applying it to your fears. Instead of pushing against these fears, instead of trying to make them go away, allow them to be. Let your fear of public speaking be there in whatever way it chooses to express itself.
So do nothing whatsoever about fears? No, not nothing. Observe. Observe the thinking that causes your fears, observe the emotions and physical reactions your fearful thoughts generate, observe how your body feels, observe without analysis or labeling or judgment.
Another way to put this is to “watch”. Watch your thinking, watch your emotions, watch your body, watch your fear, but do it all neutrally: nothing is good, nothing is bad, nothing is uncertain, it just is.
What will happen if you do this, if you let all of the elements of your fear — the thoughts, the emotions, the physical responses in your body, the mental movies that may play — be exactly as they are and neutrally observe them, is that they will be transmuted from a negative energy charge into a peaceful energy charge.
It may be hard to believe that allowing fear to be and simply observing or watching it will lead to anything beneficial. My response to this is, try it for yourself and see what happens.