In any system, consistent high-quality output is dependent on consistent high-quality input.
As the current Olympic Games remind us, no matter how much desire is activated in the brain of performers, if they have not put in sufficient practice in advance of their events, their best attempts will fail to deliver the high-quality results expected of them. A psychologist - whose research featured in New Scientist - monitored the blood pressure of a control group of 24 women and 22 men as they underwent the most stressful test he could think of - delivering a presentation!
His claim was that those who had undergone the stimulation of multiple nerve endings plus hormone release during penetrative sex within the past two weeks experienced less heightened levels of blood pressure and more speedy return to normal than did those who had not.
A social psychologist, on the other hand,suggested that to give the presentation, a penetrative going over in the hours just before the performance worked equally well.
Any findings that can alleviate emasculating stress are to be respected. But if the necessary mental and physical knowledge and the methods for sharing that knowledge effectively have not been sufficiently well internalised, the best lover, the most loyal and furry pet, the finest meal or the most advanced-stress busting medication can not prevent a person from being lost and petrified in a Sargasso sea of angst when put to the crucial test.
I should like to draw attention to the fact that there is only a one letter difference between de-stress and distress. And that letter - I - is also the personal pronoun.The reason that presentations and athletic performances are so stressful is that each presenter or athlete performs as an individual and so is confronted not only with an audience, but with raw, existential angst.
The person from Porlock who called on Shelley and dismissed the memory of how he planned to end his poem Ozymandias was, likely as not, an excuse for the fact that Shelley - more concerned with spending all his energies on trying out potions to alleviate his raw existential angst - just lost the plot. The drugged state allowed him to produce one outstandingly successful poem but left him unable to deliver others with any consistency.
To just stick doggedly to the course of repetition and execution which is the only way to bring any human endeavour to a successful conclusion, may not create the outlandish highs that chemical substances do, but it also does not create the searingly penetrating lows that too often tip fame into oblivion.
Extend your endeavours and the value of your ideas through repetition, physical alertness and thoughtful breathing. These simple processes elicit sufficient chemical changes within the brain to calm you down before you begin to reveal the power of your ideas, and strengthen and confirm you during their delivery.
Audiences that you encounter under such circumstances will give off encouragement as powerful as the roar of the Olympic crowds. Their interest will support and lift you to a successful conclusion and lead you to a belief that the way to improve future performance is to practice doing more of the same.