Lesson 5 of 6

Activity 3: See your feelings as signals & challenge your thoughts

Here I encourage Esme to ‘catch herself’ feeling different emotions in order to step back and look for patterns.  By Identifying triggering events that cause particular emotions Esme can begin to examine the process of how her own thoughts are impacting on her confidence and begin to challenge these.

Duration 2m 22s


Emotions or feelings are responses to our experiences. They trigger chemical changes in our body that prime us in a certain way. 

Catri encourages Esme to ‘catch herself’ thinking negative thoughts by stepping back and looking for patterns. Identifying these can help Esme begin to examine the process of how her own thoughts are impacting on her confidence and begin to challenge these.

  • For example, before she goes on stage, Esme might start thinking about the gig where she felt the men were looking at her chest –  this was the triggering event. 
  • As a result she starts to feel shame, which prompts her body to move into a ‘fight or flight’ response. 
  • By recognising that the way she is feeling relates to a previous event and by challenging the thought Esme can start to gain a sense of control over her feelings.

Thoughts are not facts

It’s worth remembering that just because we think something doesn’t make it true. In Esme’s case, she didn’t know for certain that the men were looking at her chest, yet she assumed this was true and therefore allowed herself to feel shame. Whilst negative emotions may be painful, they can also be Action Signals that we can use to make our lives better if we understand how to manage them. 


Think back to a time when you experienced a negative emotion related to performing and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What thoughts was I having that contributed towards the emotion I was feeling?
  2. How true were these thoughts? Can they be ‘backed up’ without question? 

Developing Resilience

As performers it is perhaps inevitable that an audience will comment on what we do , as well as how we look. In today’s society this comes with the territory so developing resilience is important. 


Whilst it’s not always easy as performers to maintain a level of detachment, it is worth remembering that what others think of us is based only on their opinion and we are perfectly at liberty to ignore this, rather than take it personally or as ‘fact.’

Esme heard some women in the toilet discussing her appearance which caused her shame and embarrassment. She chose not to confront them –  but was this the right cause of action? Was there an alternative course of action that Esme could have taken? 

Brené Brown, an American Professor, Lecturer and Author has found through research that all people experience shame and has created a technique to build ‘Shame Resilience’ – more info on this can be found here: