LOS ANGELES-Britney Spears' performances are an 'escape' from her self-confidence issues. The 'Toxic' hitmaker says performing is a big ''boost to her confidence'' and she uses that confident ''persona'' to counteract her shyness off stage.

She shared: ''I think it's an escape because honestly with how shy I really am, I don't think it's healthy. Performing is a boost to my confidence. It's like an alter-ego type thing. Something clicks and I go and turn into this different person. I think it's kind of a gift to be able to do that ... I'm very sensitive and sometimes I just want to run away because I'm a very shy person. I think energy is contagious and when I get onstage with the dancers, we all kind of vibe off each other. We feel the same energy and we connect. I think it's healthy to be able to put on the persona of being confident.''

Meanwhile, Britney previously admitted it was her anxiety that led to her breakdown in 2007 and says at the time, she could get ''overwhelmed'' by the smallest of things.

She explained: ''From an early age I always felt that everyone was testing me. If [something] was not in place, it would have been enough to get me to this point of anxiety. I could get overwhelmed by a lot of very small, disproportionate things.'' However, the 36-year-old singer has made the conscious decision to give herself more breaks in the hope it will help reduce her anxiety and improve her mental health.

She added: ''I think I had to give myself more breaks through my career and take responsibility for my mental health. There were many decisions that were made for me and that I didn't make myself ... I think I was a different person then, young, and I did not always know instinctively what was good and what was wrong. I am in a much better place in my life, and the two children shaped my personality, filled me, made me less worried about what is happening to me.''