This week, NPR is rolling out a series of stories related to stress, tackling topics like how it affects our emotions, our sleeping patterns, what we eat and how we work. According to a poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, almost half of all Americans admitted to having a major stressful event over the past year.
And we all know dance isn’t a low-stress field. Factor in auditions, injury risk, company politics, not to mention dancers’ personal lives, and you’ve got a recipe for stress. That’s where, according to NPR, meditation, or mindfulness practice, can help. If you find yourself tensing up backstage, take a quiet moment, and simply focus your attention on your breath. When pre-performance panic starts creeping into your mind, try to reorient your thoughts on your breathing. Aside from helping you manage stress, meditation has an added bonus for dancers: When you focus on your breath, it can also help you remember to continue breathing once you step onstage.