Ever called someone and instantly known they were angry by the tone of their voice? Most of us have, and that’s because the adrenaline of anger can change the rate, pitch, and volume of our voices without our even knowing it. The person you’ve called may deny anything has upset them, but we can usually hear it.
So what can you do if you get angry because your live shot is delayed or your recording equipment screws up while you’re doing your voiceover work, and you’re afraid your voice may be affected? I’ve got a simple solution that’s as close as your smartphone.
The Institute of HeartMath has done extensive research on a technique called “positive emotion refocusing,” which has been proven to lower blood pressure and relieve stress. I’m going to give you a simplified version of their technique that works for me.
When I’m stressed out or angry, say from the dentist telling me I need yet another painful procedure, I take a minute after I’ve left his office and grab my phone. I go to my photos and pull up a photo that always makes me smile and warms my heart, like this one of my adorable cat, Ernie. I focus on this photo and really remember what his fur feels like and what his purring sounds like. I take a few deep breaths while I’m doing this.
This few minutes of escaping into his photo does not change the fact that I’m in for more painful dental work, but it does refocus my emotions. My body switches from pumping out harmful adrenaline to giving me endorphins. And voila! I feel less upset after only a couple of minutes.
So the next time you’re fuming, grab your phone and try a little smartphone stress therapy. Look at the photos of anything that makes you happy: baby pictures, your last vacation, art, or your pet. It’s bound to help your day, and it just might improve your voice!
And for you American University students in Professor Olmsted’s Voice and Presentation class, there’s no better time to start an anti-stress regimen than now! A healthy reason to pull out your smartphone 🙂
My e-book, BROADCASTER’S SURVIVAL GUIDE, has lots more tips for dealing with stress. It’s now available for only $4.99. And don’t be fooled by “broadcaster’s” in the title. It’s great for voiceover artists, too.