Almost everyone has experienced that fluttery feeling in the stomach before a big presentation or competition. We tend to use the un-scientific term “butterflies in the tummy” to describe it but there is a scientific reason behind the sensation. The digestive system is linked to a person’s thoughts and emotions, so those pre-competition jitters can quickly turn into stomach acrobatics as the butterflies feel like they are flying all over the place.

Butterflies in the stomach are associated with the body’s natural fight or flight mechanism for dealing with a threat, whether this threat is real or imagined. In response to this threat the body raises heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. At the same time, the adrenal glands are stimulated, which in turn releases hormones including adrenaline and cortisol that can turn the body into a tense sweaty mess. Muscle tension builds up to keep us alert and the smooth stomach muscles can become more sensitive, which can lead to the fluttery feeling.

Learning to control these butterflies can give you a greater sense of control over any anxious feelings, so on this podcast I give you a simple but really effective exercise that use with all my clients to help them prepare for major events.