Education & Career Trends: February 13, 2023
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS
- Excerpts are taken from an article published on psychcentral .com.
You may experience anxiety every now and then. When you deliver a presentation, take an exam, participate in sports, or entertain an audience with a piece of music, you may experience fleeting stress levels.
But what if a cycle causes this fear to recur repeatedly? In that case, it’s possible that you have performance anxiety.
The severity of performance anxiety may warrant a mental health problem diagnosis. For instance, you can be diagnosed with a social anxiety disorder if you feel this way in most or all social situations.
Anxiety about performing is common. Up to 60% of professional artists in the music industry alone may have symptoms. Therefore, if you occasionally feel anxiety symptoms when dealing with a performance-based task, you are not alone.
The signs of anxiety may be controlled, and assistance is available if you think you need it from a professional.
The good news is, you can learn to control performance anxiety and break its cycle, just like you can with any other sort of worry.
1. Indulge in Relaxation Techniques
- When you have performance anxiety, having a go-to relaxing technique might help you get through the crisis.
- Circular breathing is suggested by Dr John F. Tholen, a retired clinical psychologist from Seal Beach, California, as a quick solution to deal with instances of performance anxiety.
- When your worry starts to build, Tholen also suggests performing progressive muscle relaxation.
- Progressive muscle relaxation aids in grounding you so that your focus and energy are directed into your body rather than your anxious thoughts.
- If you observe that symptoms continually reappear, you can interrupt the cycle of performance anxiety by regularly practising relaxation methods.
2. Practice Guided Imagery
- With the aid of a script, you may utilise the therapeutic practice of guided imagery to cultivate relaxing ideas and pictures in your mind.
- In Deerfield Beach, Florida, professional psychologist Dr Daniel Sher claims that guided imagery can even assist with performance anxiety.
- He says that guided imagery is a treatment practice that entails imagining tranquil, fruitful, or successful mental scenarios. “The brain is able to establish a state of calm and relaxation that supports mental health by focusing on these good pictures.”
- Before any occasion that you predict may make you feel anxious: practice guided imagery.
3. Do Positive Self-Talk
- Dr. Paul Greene, a professional psychologist in New York, issues a warning that dwelling on unpleasant ideas might aggravate anxiety.
- Greene asserts that negative self-talk makes performance anxiety worse. “Your anxiety will be stronger if you have a tendency to convince yourself how poorly you’ll do or how disastrous it would be if you didn’t do well.”
- Greene advises you to be aware of the factors likely to achieve success and the fact that it won’t become the end of everything if you slip up.
- If your internal conversation is insufficient, you might record your encouraging self-talk. When your mind is preventing you from acting, think about reading them.
4. Confront Fears
- It’s normal to want to stay away from things that make you feel unpleasant. Greene warns that while doing this can feel nice at the moment, it is not in your long-term interest.
- “It makes sense to avoid situations that make you feel anxious. But if you keep doing it, the issue can get worse,” he says. Try to put yourself in circumstances that make you a bit nervous; you’ll likely experience less anxiety the more frequently you do so.
- It’s not necessary to go big. Before giving a crucial presentation, preparing your speech with some people might provide you with the experience you need to control your nervousness.
5. Bring Changes in your Lifestyle
- When you’re distressed, food might help you feel better. However, such advantages might only remain for a short while.
- Focusing on meals that encourage stable blood sugar levels is advised by Dr. Julia Kogan, a health psychologist in Miami, Florida, who specialises in stress and sleeplessness.
- Limiting your intake of sugar and caffeine is also beneficial. According to her, excessive coffee intake or blood sugar fluctuations might mimic anxiety symptoms and amplify the underlying anxiety.
- “A healthy supper can help normalise blood sugar, which can aid with performance.”
6. Reinforce Excitement
- Certain activities that you actually enjoy can also stem performance anxiety.
- For instance, you’ve chosen to play basketball with a team in front of people since you’re passionate about the sport. However, just before you enter the court, you get a panic attack.
- This kind of emotion is normal. According to Dr Afshan Mohamedali, a clinical psychologist in Oyster Bay, New York, the exhilaration you have when performing an activity you like might really be what helps you get over performance anxiety.
- “The emotion of fear may conflict with excitement,” she claims.
- You may reduce worry, even if it’s only enough to execute, by discovering something about the activity that makes you excited and fosters this sensation.
- If it’s difficult for you to maintain interest and passion, start by outlining the components of the activity that you appreciate or the deeper significance it holds for you.
Have you checked out yesterday’s blog yet?
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)