By Zane Yoshida

Kava For Performance Anxiety

The value of kava in treating anxiety, lowering stress, and helping people feel more relaxed is well established.

But think what this might do not only for your health – but for your performance in other areas of life.

A few weeks ago we covered the topic of kava as a study aid for students. Key to this is that kava, unlike alcohol, does not impair mental clarity; in fact, many users say that it enhances their ability to focus, which is an obvious help for students revising for exams.

This could also help in another area…

Performance anxiety

‘Stage fright’ or ‘performance anxiety’ is usually experienced when standing up in front of a large group of people in public. This could be to make a speech, deliver a presentation, answer questions, or anything else that demands public speaking.

Many of us feel nerves before a ‘performance’ of some kind; in most cases this is healthy adrenalin racing around – and it will help us deliver. However, for some people, it can be a real problem, and impairs their performance, because they become too stressed.

There are three solutions:

  1. Cancel all engagements
  2. Battle on, shaking like a leaf
  3. Do something about it!

Trying kava falls firmly into the third category.

How can kava help?

The key lies in getting more experience on stage in these situations to gain confidence. Kava may help you do that in a natural way, without taking medication.

Nicholas Ross Smith is a lecturer at the University of Auckland and the Auckland University of Technology. He is also one of the founding members of the Kava Society in New Zealand, one of the foremost authorities on kava culture in the country. He has experience of using kava to battle performance anxiety, and says:

“After using kava in a social setting for a few months, I became aware of its anti-anxiety properties. Given that I work in academia and I am required to regularly teach as well as give conference talks and seminars in front of large audiences, all of which tends to leave me rather anxious, I started experimenting with taking kava before these activities.

“The results of this have been remarkable. Not only do I feel taking kava prior to public speaking allows me to perform better, the routine I have developed has allowed me to be anxiety-free the night before an important lecture, something which impeded my sleep greatly and in turn affected my performance.

“Therefore, I recommend to any people that suffer from performance-anxiety in their professional lives to consider the usefulness of small intakes of kava as a way of managing this anxiety.”

(Source: The Kava Society blog)

Interesting that he mentions the ability to get a better night’s sleep before a gig. We wrote about kava’s sedative qualities and its potential for getting better sleep here.

So, it seems that the ability to help with performance anxiety is another ‘tick’ to add to the growing list of kava benefits. Maybe give a kava shot a try before you are next in front of the microphone.