Episode 56: About re-training your nervous system, with Elissa

podcast Sep 24, 2020

The world has shifted and suddenly we're all constantly on camera - presenting in meetings, teaching online, and even just having ‘parties’ with our friends. 👩‍💻

If you’re finding all this camera time nerve wracking - or if you’re avoiding these situations as much as possible - you are not alone. Today’s special podcast episode is the audio of my free masterclass “Why We Freak Out On Camera, and How To Solve It.” You’ll learn why it's totally natural for your nervous system to go into fight or flight mode when you're staring at a camera lens (or a blinking red dot, or yourself...), and I’ll share how you can re-train your psyche, body, and soul to speak with confidence so you can share your message with the world. 🗣🌟

Listen here on Apple Podcasts.

Listen here on Spotify

Listen here on Stitcher.

Want to learn the Voice Body Connection Process so you can practice raising your voice and speaking your truth? Check out the free mini-course HERE.


Show Notes:   


  • 0:00 - Intro… today’s episode is special! It’s actually the audio of the “Why We Freak Out On Camera, and How To Solve It” masterclass (held on September 23rd, 2020).
  • 2:19 - Welcome to the masterclass! Elissa goes back and forth between looking at the camera lens and the screen... it doesn’t matter too much where you look as long as you’re being authentic!
  • 4:12 - Who’s tuning in to the masterclass? You may be a public speaker whose throat freezes up. You may be a singer who freezes onstage or an actor who shuts down when you hear “action.” You may even simply be an online student nervous to unmute and share your question. 
  • 8:10 - A bit about Elissa’s personal story about why she became a voice and presence coach.
  • 14:45 - An introduction to Polyvagal Theory: a deeper way to understand your nervous system than simply saying “fight/flight/freeze.” It all has to do with the vagus nerve, and the three states - ventral vagal, sympathetic, and dorsal vagal - can be modeled on a ladder.
  • 20:55 - Why does this matter for speaking in front of other people? Because when people are paying attention to us, our nervous system registers this as a threat. Our neuroception tells us we’re in danger. 
  • 23:03 - We’re all going to have different triggers that send us into fight or flight. But we can reverse engineer our way into presence by paying attention to our eyes, our body language, our breathing, our voice, and our connection to others. 
  • 26:58 - We practice the notice what’s in the room exercise to practice letting our eyes come into focus.  
  • 32:00 - The importance of naming your camera! Who is your superstar customer/friend/student that you’re talking to?
  • 36:02 - How to adjust your breathing to be in “stay and play” mode… what to do when you notice yourself breathing heavily or holding your breath. 
  • 38:29 - When we are speaking, we breathe in and out through our mouths. 
  • 41:10 - We learn the “Moment Before” exercise. Three steps: breathe out, paste a smile on your face, and breathe in easily (then press record). 
  • 45:55 - Elissa gets on her soapbox. 2020 is no joke. Humanity is in an intense moment. Working on regulating your nervous system is going to help you be more comfortable in your life. And sharing your authentic voice is going to raise your vibration and the vibration of everyone around you.
  • 51:17 - What is Authentic Voice Academy? The ten week class where you’ll learn to step into your confident, authentic, free voice so you can be amazing on video and in your whole life. Starting next week!
  • 1:00:17 - Q&A! ...
  • 1:01:02 - How do you deal with seeing yourself on the screen?
  • 1:02:21 - What do you do if you notice someone in your audience is disengaged?
  • 1:03:53 - Any tips or tricks on diaphragmatic breathing? Or feelings of phlegm in the throat?
  • 1:06:08 - Any tips for wearing a mask? It feels like an obstacle and creates jaw tension.
  • 1:08:25 - If you’re in freeze mode, do you need to move through fight or flight to get back to regulation? (Yes!). This question also speaks to using polyvagal theory to address trauma.
  • 1:11:11 - Is class available on a sliding scale? 
  • 1:12:07 - How do I present truthfully without forcing my eyes not to wander?
  • 1:14:38 - Wrap up with Elissa!


Show Notes 

Want to see the video of the masterclass including visuals? Head to www.voicebodyconnection.com/cameramasterclass to get access!

Ready to join Authentic Voice Academy? Class happens once a year, and this year it starts next Wednesday September 30th. Sign up here: www.voicebodyconnection.com/authenticvoiceacademy

If you want to learn more about Polyvagal Theory, I highly recommend starting with the Beginner’s Guide to Polyvagal Theory written by Deb Dana (and secondly her book Polyvagal Theory in Therapy.)

Want to take my 5 Days to Confidence on Camera class? Here’s the link to sign up: www.voicebodyconnection.com/5daystoconfidenceoncamera

If you want to practice the “Notice what’s in the room” exercise, here’s a youtube video where I talk you through it as well.

If you want to practice breathing in and out through your mouth, here’s a youtube video when I explain why and how to do that

Want to practice an easy inhalation more? This is an exercise I highly recommend.

Here’s Virginia Rosenberg’s fall equinox episode from last week.


Have you taken the free Find Your Voice, Speak Your Truth mini-course yet? Learn the full Voice Body Connection Process so you can practice it for yourself. Sign up at https://www.voicebodyconnection.com/minicourse.

And for more support, join the Voice Body Connection Membership Community, visit www.voicebodyconnection.com/community.

As a member of the Voice Body Connection Membership Community, you get access to:

  • Live voice and movement warm-ups led by Elissa (twenty minutes each 4x/week),
  • A monthly live online group coaching session to practice using the Voice Body Connection process,
  • A monthly Community Concert, including sing-a-longs and opportunities to share your voice,
  • A monthly live recording of the coming month’s solo podcast episode,
  • And exclusive behind-the-scenes videos with every guest.

Learn more and sign up at www.voicebodyconnection.com/community.


Production Credits:

Our Editor is Sean Brennan

Our Photographer and Graphic Designer is Laura Sills

Our Videographer is Miguel Garzón Martínez

And our theme song is “Waters of Body” by Strange Weather


Please note that Amazon links in the show notes are connected to the Voice Body Connection Associates account. All other partner links are acknowledged. Thank you for supporting the podcast! 


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