Recently, I had the opportunity to hop on a phone call with Jane Nguyen, one of the co-founders of PerformZen Calm Performance Formula, a new supplement designed specifically for helping performers (or anyone, really) to overcome stage fright, social anxiety & performance anxiety. I have been using PerformZen for my own performances since I came across them in early 2021 and, as my clients will attest, I’ve been recommending it to anyone looking for a fast-acting solution to their anxiety issues. What I like is that PerformZen helps me feel calm and seems to give me a slight boost in focus and mental sharpness without making me feel tired or, conversely, too wired after the performance (important for things like zoom calls where I don’t want to be wired for the rest of the day if I have a call in the afternoon or evening).
I got to ask Jane a bunch of questions about PerformZen, so I figured I would write up some of Jane’s answers as well as provide a small review of the supplement. Keep reading until the end and you can find out how to get $5 off your 1st PerformZen order if you’re interested in trying it for yourself (act quick on this discount, it’s only active until 31 May 2022)…
Introducing Jane Nguyen, Violinist & PerformZen Co-Founder
Jane Nguyen, Co-Founder of PerformZen, started off our call by telling me about the products origin story. She claims that PerformZen was born “out of necessity”, here’s how she got started:
I’ve spent a lifetime building the skills and drive necessary to become a professional violinist. But for my whole career, I’ve suffered from severe stage fright and performance anxiety.
Before any performances, whether private showings as a kid for my parents in the living room, or in front of a crowd of hundreds or thousands when I later became an orchestra violinist; I would freeze-up! Sometimes I experience physical sickness as a crushing wave of self-doubt, fear and negative self-talk take over.
For the longest time I just assumed that this was normal and ‘white knuckled’ my way through.
I read every book about anxiety & stage fright that I could and tried loads of coping methods at different points throughout my career in order to soldier through and keep getting back in the spotlight when I needed to.
In 2016, following a string of missed performances where my anxiety got so bad that I could not get on stage (this was a terrible time in my life!), I considered a career-change to something that didn’t cause so much pain. As a sort of half-measure, I decided to take a sabbatical and re-evaluate everything.
I’ve always tried to lean in to challenges, so I looked at my severe performance anxiety as something that could be overcome; I just needed the right information and the right people helping me! A few months into my sabbatical I figured it was time to get to the root of my issue: what was causing these debilitating performance anxiety issues? Was every person who had to consistently perform in high-stakes situations experiencing the same same issues? And if so, how were they able to successfully overcome their fears and performance anxiety so that they could perform at their best, time-after-time? If others can overcome this issue; so can I!
It only took a few years of research, and talking directly to experts on peak performance in not only the field of music, but also sports, public speaking, business leadership and mental & physical science.
I uncovered not only the reasons for my own performance anxiety issues from a physiological perspective, but also a solution for stage fright that allowed me to get back up on stage and, most importantly, find the joy and passion again that made me fall in love with performing in the first place!
I teamed up with the smart folks from uVitals and we combined and strengthened our research efforts together and went on to develop, test and bring to market PerformZen Calm Performance Formula.
~ Jane Nguyen from PerformZen talking about how the product became a reality
What is PerformZen and How does it work?
So knowing the (pretty inspiring) origin story of the company, the next obvious question is “What is PerformZen Calm Performance Formula?”
I use and recommend PerformZen to several of my clients seeking help with performance anxiety, and I would describe PerformZen as a supplement to help reduce (and under the right conditions, eliminate) the symptoms of stage fright & performance anxiety. For me, PerformZen helps me stay calm and clear headed during an anxiety-inducing event (like speaking on stage) and even has a slight focusing effect, helping me stay ‘in the moment’ rather then having my thoughts run away with evaluation of what I previously said and what I’m saying next. I asked Jane how she described PerformZen in her own words and she said:
Many people don’t take performance anxiety seriously. Either they don’t understand the massive effect on your life & career that stage fright can have, or they haven’t truly been in a high pressure scenario that requires calm, clear & focused thinking while your body wants to do nothing more then flee in response to its natural fight-or-flight response!
PerformZen Calm Performance Formula is made specifically for those performers who face this very serious challenge on a regular basis. We know exactly how performance anxiety can effect our life as well as the follow-on effects that can stem from that, and we’ve developed an all-natural supplement designed specifically to address those issues head on!
Whether you’re preparing for an important exam that will determine your future, or a live performance where you need to give your all when the light shines on you: the fast acting PerformZen supplement, used just 3-6 hours prior to a high-anxiety event, provides a calm level of focus and minimizes stage fright & anxiety symptoms, every time.
From my understanding talking to Jane about PerformZen, the supplement uses a combination of natural ingredients that have all been tested and synthesized to help with different aspects of anxiety and, as I was pleasantly surprised to find out, help you focus under pressure. So the next natural question is…
What are the ingredients of PerformZen
You can see the official ingredient list on the PerformZen website, but here’s the image version:
But seeing the natural ingredients list, and understanding what each of the components in PerformZen do are not the same. Here’s how Jane described each of the ingredients function within the supplement, and what it means for the end-user:
Fundamentally, PerformZen combines GABA, L-theanine, Magnesium + Vitamin B6, Theacrine and Ginkgo Biloba. The ingredients work synergistically to support your brain, promote calmness, and provide a state of energized focus. Together, the ingredients help you achieve that state of ‘flow’ where you can perform at your highest level. Here’s a breakdown of what each of the individual ingredients do.
Gamma-AminoButyric Acid, commonly called GABA, reduces nerve excitability; which has a direct effect on anxiety & fear functions. GABA in PerformZen promotes relaxation of the body; improving thought clarity while keeping you calm.
L-theanine is an amino acid found in tea leaves. It’s been shown in studies to improve relaxation, cognitive focus, and better sleep . You can only get L-theanine from dietary sources like tea or supplements. Research has shown that L-theanine affects dopamine and serotonin levels in your brain . These are crucial brain chemicals (hormones) that play a role in your mood, sleep, emotions, and stress levels . L-Theanine in PerformZen functions as an adaptogen that relieves stress, increases alpha brain waves leading to wakeful relaxation, and supports theta brain waves associated with creativity.
Magnesium & Vitamin B6
Magnesium is an incredibly important mineral that is responsible for hundreds of biochemical functions within your body; like energy creation, protein formation, muscle movements, and more. When it comes to performance anxiety, magnesium can help in a couple of different ways. First, it helps with the absorption of GABA in your body . GABA and L-theanine elevate GABA levels in your body, and then magnesium facilitates better absorption of GABA by stimulating receptors in your body to absorb GABA better.
As a result, you feel a more potent effect of GABA, which means a greater sense of calmness and mental focus as you get through your performance. Also, when combined with vitamin B6, magnesium has also been shown to improve the brain’s ability to focus on the task at hand, instead of getting distracted by negative, anxious thoughts. One famed study showed that magnesium, when combined with vitamin B6, improved behavioral disorder in children with ADHD syndrome (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) . The studies findings suggest that the combination of magnesium and B6 would benefit those with performance anxiety.
Magnesium in PerformZen works synergistically with Vitamin B6 to aid GABA absorption, while restricting the release of stress hormones & helping the brain filter them.
Theacrine is a naturally occurring substance found in a Chinese tea known as Kucha. It has a similar energy-boosting effect to coffee but without the jitters or the ups and downs . It also promotes mental clarity, which, along with the energy boost, has been shown to be beneficial before and during a performance. Theacrine in PerformZen promotes healthy mood & energy-levels.
Ginkgo Biloba is traditionally used for healing purposes in Chinese medicine. It is an herb rich in antioxidants that has various benefits for brain health. Evidence shows that Ginkgo Biloba can help you manage your stress hormone levels, which keeps your fight-or-flight response under control and prevents the symptoms of performance anxiety . Ginkgo in PerformZen helps maintain healthy cortisol levels in performers & prevents stress-induced blood pressure rises without effecting heart rate.
All combined, PerformZen is a potent formula when it comes to fighting performance anxiety. As a natural supplement, it promotes calmness, focus, and optimal cognitive performance.
As a bonus, from their support pages, I learned that the ingredients contained in PerformZen are manufactured in facilities with USDA Organic Certification and are also 100% gluten, dairy and soy free. The PerformZen capsules are gelatin and contain no gluten, dairy or soy either.
What situations can PerformZen help with?
PerformZen was originally made with musicians in mind as Jane, one of the co-founders of PerformZen, was a career violinist and in over 15 years of playing professionally, had never been able to overcome the crushing fear and panic that would overwhelm her before a performance.
The performance anxiety that came with her job got so bad that she took a break and dedicated herself to finding a solution to this problem. PerformZen is the manifestation of Jane’s work.
Jane told me that PerformZen has proven to really help in fields where the user needs to effectively combat performance anxiety while focusing on clear & creative thought. Fields like Public Speaking, tests and exams, singing, acting, athletic sports, job interviews and (first?) dates.
Is PerformZen a replacement for beta blockers?
Beta-blockers are a type of pharmaceutical that doctors typically prescribe for cardiovascular conditions. But because of the way they work within the body, many performers use beta-blockers to block the symptoms of performance anxiety & stage fright. In fact, a 1987 survey by the International Conference of Symphony Orchestra Musicians, representing some of the largest orchestras in the U.S., found that 27 percent of their musicians were using beta-blockers for performance anxiety . Experts estimate that number is much higher today.
Beta blockers are typically prescribed by doctors for conditions such as high blood pressure, chest pains, irregular heartbeat, and in some cases, even migraines. They relax the load on your cardiovascular system by blocking the effects of the adrenaline hormone.
Adrenaline is a stress-related hormone. It binds itself to adrenergic receptors in the heart, also known as beta receptors . As a result, the heart has to pump blood with greater force, which causes your blood pressure and heart rate to go up.
Beta-blockers (or beta-adrenergic blocking agents) block the effects of adrenaline and prevent it from binding to the beta receptors in the heart. Consequently, the heart can return to its regular workload, and your blood pressure can remain steady. This is why beta-blockers are prescribed for people with high blood pressure and hypertension.
If you experience performance anxiety regularly, you are experiencing the bodies stress response go too far. You experience a much greater effect of the adrenaline hormone, which causes your heart rate to skyrocket, along with other symptoms of stage fright. Since beta-blockers block the effects of adrenaline, they also prevent you from experiencing the physical symptoms of performance anxiety. Remaining physically calm has an overall calming effect, which then allows you to get through your engagement… And this is why a lot of performers use beta-blockers.
Side-Effects & Risks of Beta Blockers
Beta-blockers like Propranolol, Atenolol and Metoprolol are generally considered to be safe for performers. Especially if you only take them occasionally. But they do come with potential side effects :
- Mood disorders
- Digestive issues like gas, bloating, and constipation
- Nausea, and in some cases, vomiting
- Dry mouth
In some rare, but severe cases, one might also experience the following side effects of beta-blockers:
- Wheezing and/or shortness of breath
- Swelling of extremities like hands, feet, or ankles
- Pounding heartbeat
Most of the side effects of beta-blockers are quite rare, but they can happen. The most common issue with prolonged usage of beta blockers is that there’s a risk that you may become dependent. In such cases, suddenly stopping beta-blockers could cause your blood pressure to spike to worrying levels.
When it comes to natural beta blocker alternatives, you’re looking for something that will have a similar end result to beta blockers. So, you want natural substances that allow you to remain calm in an otherwise stressful situation, ideally without any of the above-mentioned side-effects of beta blockers.
I can safely say then, that PerformZen is a very good natural alternative to beta blockers! Beta blockers have been used off-script for stage fright and performance anxiety for a very long time, but I believe that if more people knew there was a non-prescription, all-natural alternative out there that works just as well (if not better, if you consider the focusing abilities) then they would be all-over PerformZen Calm Performance Formula!
Will PerformZen work for me and my unique situation?
Although designed originally for musicians, it seems that PerformZen works well for anyone facing high-anxiety and high-stress situations where they need to stay calm, focused and ready to perform at their bests. It’s impossible to say whether your specific situation could be helped with the aid of PerformZen, but I’d suggest at least checking out their support documents to see if you can find some specific insight.
If you’re not happy, send [your order] back for a full refund on your first bottle. You can read more about our Performance Guarantee in the help center.
That seems like a pretty risk-free way to give the supplement a try, in my opinion!
Limited Time Deal: Get $5 off your first PerformZen Order
As you can tell from this entire article, I’m a huge fan of PerformZen! After talking to Jane and sharing my enthusiasm for the supplement, she offered to hook up PerformanceAnxiety.com readers with a limited-time exclusive discount. Here are the details:
Until 31 May 2022, use the coupon code PERFORMANCEANXIETY during checkout on PerformZen.com and get $5 off your first order!
This is valid until 31 May 2022, and to get your discount you need to enter the coupon code during checkout. My advice is that you jump on this discount quickly, and know that they do offer a 100% performance guarantee so there’s no risk.
Final Thoughts about PerformZen
I thought it would be a good idea to wrap this up by asking Jane one final question and sharing her answer. I asked Jane from PerformZen “what should everyone know about becoming a good performer?” and her answer is pretty interesting:
The Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli has performed before popes, presidents and millions of adoring fans. I read that he’s experienced stage fright since the mid-90’s. In one interview he stated “I’ve always suffered from stage fright… I think that stage fright is actually in your DNA, there’s nothing you can do about it.”
He goes into details in the interview about why and how he experiences stage fright, and this quote in particular really stuck with me: “A voice is very intimate. It’s something of your own. So there’s always this fear, because you feel naked. There’s a fear of not reaching up to expectations.”
That point about ‘not reaching up to expectations’ is exactly what I felt during my bouts of anxiety about my career and performances. The stoic philosopher Seneca has the great quote “We suffer more in imagination than in reality” and I think that this is the perfect mental rebuttal to fears about living up to expectations.
Many of our fears are completely in our mind and are about things that have not happened yet. Besides all the other exercises and tools you can use to fight performance anxiety, many talked about here and on the PerformZen blog, one of the most powerful tools against anxiety that we all have is ‘presence’. Being present, in the moment, not looking too far forwards or backwards in our mental time machines is super powerful, and I recommend that anyone & everyone looks into presence practices like meditation and CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) to help with their anxiety. You won’t regret it!
~ Jane Nguyen from PerformZen on “becoming a good performer”
- ^ https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0924224499000448
- ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17182482
- ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7622823
- ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5452159/
- ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16846100
- ^ https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1280/theacrine
- ^ https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2010105817716184
- ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5618811/
- ^ https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/beta-blockers/art-20044522
- ^ https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/metoprolol/