How Oxiracetam Makes You a Better Public Speaker
Some of the worst moments of my life have involved standing in front of a crowd of strangers in a situation where I’m expected to give a talk. The experts agree that public speaking the most stressful things most of us will be ever asked to do.
I’ve given well over a hundred talks, but it never seems to get any easier. Sometimes my anxiety manages to spur me on to a good performance, but on too many occasions, my nerves has meant a lackluster talk.
I’ve read many books on the topic of public speaking, and I attended a couple of courses, but I’ve yet to find something that works every time. I’ve recently become interested in nootropics (smart drugs), and I’m hoping that these may offer an effective solution – in particular, the nootropic drug: Oxiracetam.
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Why is Public Speaking So Difficult?
I’m not a particularly shy person. I’ve no problem turning up at a party and making conversation with complete strangers. I love talking to people one-on-one (it can be hard to shut me up), but there is just something about talking to a crowd that can turn me into a quivering nervous wreck.
Many famous people, such as Hugh Grant and Robbie Williams, have struggled so much with this type of anxiety that they have needed to cancel performances.
The reason public speaking can be so difficult is that many of us suffer from stage fright. This is a type of anxiety that can arise if we are expected to perform in front of people, and it can include symptoms such as: sweaty hands, facial tics, nausea and vomiting, a pounding heart, dry mouth, dizzy spells, body tremors, panic attacks, insomnia and a feeling of impending doom.
These symptoms can begin long day before the actual performance. I usually find it hard to sleep in the days before a talk, and it can feel as if there is a lump in my stomach. On the actual day of the public talk, I can feel close to panic.
The symptoms of stage fright occur because the body feels under threat, and this triggers the fight or flight response. It means the sympathetic nervous system gains control, and this leads to the release of adrenalin into the bloodstream. The less important parts of the body shutdown, such as the digestive system, so that the body is better ready to deal with any danger.
It is believed that the most common cause of stage fright is a feeling of not being prepared. This does seem to be the case with me. I do prepare hard for my talks, but my anxiety prior to the event makes it hard for me to absorb information.
I always worry that I’ll forget the material once I’m on stage, or I’ll say something stupid because of nervousness. I’m reasonably intelligent, but I always feel like an idiot when I’m caught up in stage fright.
How to deal with stage fright
I’ve discovered techniques that can lessen stage fright, but I’ve not found any type of magical cure. Meditation has proven to be a good way for me to control my anxiety on the days leading up to a talk, but I tend to be too anxious on the day of the event to practice this technique.
I do still try to focus on my breathing, and this has the effect of calming me down a little bit. I’ve also tried mentally chanting right before I’m due to go on stage, and this also seems to reduce my anxiety.
I always try to go for a long walk on the morning of my talk, and this can be a great help too. I usually start off with my thoughts racing, but by the time I’ve walked a few miles, things will usually start to calm down.
The only danger with this option is that I tend to get an upset stomach before public speaking, so I have to try to not walk too far from a toilet. I once walked for a couple of hours in my hotel room, and it did ease my stage fright, but I felt dizzy from all the turning.
One thing I’ve never really got around to trying, but I believe it works, is visualizations. This is where you imagine yourself giving the talk flawlessly while feeling full of confidence and enthusiasm. You keep repeating the visualization on the days coming up to the event and apparently it means that when they day comes, it is like you are almost on auto-pilot. Professional athletes like Tiger Woods swear by this technique, so there must be something to it.
What is Oxiracetam?
Oxiracetam belongs to the racetam family of drugs that also includes Piracetam, Levetiracetam, and Phenylpiracetam. Racetams are capable of improving mental functioning and some of them (including Oxiracetam) also act as stimulants.
Oxiracetam supplements are synthetic, meaning there is no way to naturally obtain the chemical from food. This substance has been shown to be effective in slowing down the decline of people who are suffering with dementia, but it doesn’t appear to cause improvements for people who have already suffered a decline due to the condition.
In recent years, it has become a popular smart drug because of its ability to improve memory and generally enhance mental functioning. Oxiracetam has similar effects to another popular smart drug called piracetam, but it significantly more potent.
There is still uncertainty as to the exact way Oxiracetam operates in the body. It does appear to work by increasing the level of the neurotransmitters acetycholine and glutamate within the brain. Glutamate is a type of amino acid that plays a key role in memory formation.
Acetycholine improves concentration and may also help people make better decisions. Another likely effect of oxiracetam is that it increases metabolic activity within the cells of the brain.
How Oxiracetam Can Help with Public Speaking
The effects of Oxiracetam that most interest me is the ability of this drug to increase intelligence, improve memory, and boost motivation. Stage fright can make me forget everything I’ve prepared, but this nootropic is capable of speeding up memory recall.
There are anecdotal reports of people who feel more energized and confident if they take this supplement before going on stage. It also seems to cause people to speak more clearly – this alone makes Oxiracetam worth it for me because I tend to mumble when I’m nervous.
I read some reports about the drug where people felt more charismatic after taking it, but this could just be a placebo effect (not that I have anything against the placebo effect because if it works it works).
Are there any dangers with Oxiracetam?
My experience has been, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There are always going to be potential side-effects with any drug or supplement, and the real question is whether the pros outweigh the cons. The good news is that the side-effects of oxiracetam are mild.
It can trigger minor insomnia and some people report an upset stomach. Although it is stronger than piracetam, it may be safer because there is no need to keep taking the drug. I’d personally be prepared to put up with a bit of insomnia following a public talk if it meant I performed a bit better. It’s not like I’d be taking this supplement every day.
Other smart drugs for public speaking
There are a number of other smart drugs that may be effective as a tool for public speaking, but I’ve not really had the time to investigate these yet. The one that sounds the most interesting would be phenibut.
This is a type of anti-anxiety medication that seems to work well with stage fright, but there is a danger of developing tolerance for this substance if it is used too regularly – oxiracetam does seem like a much better option from what I’ve read so far.