• Felicia Newell, BSc, MSc(c)

How I Overcame Anxiety, Panic Attacks, and Fear of Public Speaking (7 Steps)

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Today I am going to share something a little bit different with you. It may not be food or nutrition related per say, but it is most certainly wellness related. Managing stress and anxiety also makes it easier to develop healthy habits, which is what I'm all about of course.

You might have (or might not have) noticed, but lately I have been working on more video posts, as I feel that it is more engaging for people to be able to see me and hear my message. However, writing also has many benefits as well. I can say what I want without having to go and edit a video (which takes longer); writing is also cathartic; and writing is a lot easier for people to save and read at their leisure (among other things of course).

However, I didn't always have the guts to put myself out there as much as I do now. So, I want to tell you a story...

Five years ago I had a MASSIVE fear of public speaking. My 'Intro to Public Speaking' professor, and anyone in that class with me could vouch.

My first assignment in the course was to give a 5 minute presentation about myself and my past. I had everything written down and typed up, and I still couldn't make it through the presentation. Not only did I have immense anxiety before the presentation, my hands were sweaty, my mind felt blank, my face felt hot, my heart raced, and when I stood in front of everyone I just couldn't find the words. My doctor even prescribed me Ativan to take before presentations, which worked a little but not completely. Even talking in groups (small or large) would illicit these insanely negative feelings.

I also used to get massive anxiety and panic attacks (I went to the ER for a panic attack once, before I knew what it was, because I felt like I was dying). If something happened that was very stressful, my chest would tighten, sending pain through my chest and my arms, and make it difficult to breathe. This happened several times a week for a bit. The fear of public speaking and the panic attacks may have been related, who knows.

Now, I want to tell you...

I haven't had a panic or anxiety attack, or felt above average nervousness giving a presentation, for THREE years. I have given countless presentations to both small and large groups (even hundreds of people!), taught university courses, recorded videos, and done Facebook live chats to my page which has over 3000 members, and to the No Excuse Mom Facebook page which has 60,000 members! I most definitely don't have to take Ativan anymore for presentations (and haven't for years). I still get a bit nervous...like your average nervousness before anything important such as a presentation, but nothing near before. I actually tell myself that I am excited (which I am), and I'm able to get through hour+ presentations without shaking, and without even looking at notes. Life still throws me stressfu