The term performance anxiety is often associated with athletes and performers. Performance anxiety can typically be associated with a runner getting nervous before a big race or a singer getting stage fright before hitting the stage in front of a large crowd. However, performance anxiety can affect all types of people and is not an issue or problem that only exists in high pressure performance scenarios. Everyday, people are counted on to perform to the best of their ability for lots of reasons. Performance anxiety can affect a surgeon going into an operation, a CEO getting ready for a big pitch, or a member of the military about to go overseas. It can also affect daily activities one may not typically view as performance related such as taking a test or being expected to interact with new people.
Now that we know performance anxiety can impact everyone, what can we do about it? There are several techniques athletes are trained to use that can also be utilized in daily life. For example, visualization is a technique where an athlete visualizes a high pressure scenario while they are in a calm state, in order to properly prepare for how to react while in the real performance situation. This is a performance technique that can benefit someone struggling with social anxiety as well. If someone is nervous before a meeting where they have to meet new people, the night before the meeting they should try to visualize themselves shaking hands, introducing themselves, and making small talk. Once the person enters the meeting, they should feel more confident now that they have mentally prepped themselves before they even got into the room. Visualization is not the only technique athletes use that translates into everyday life. Some other techniques are positive self talk, imagery, breathing techniques, and goal setting.
Anxiety can present itself in all types of ways and it is important to find techniques and coping mechanisms that work for you. If you feel as though you could benefit from finding new coping mechanisms and learning how to adopt positive mental performance techniques, feel free to reach out to Gulf Wind Counseling at 850-597-7833 for help.
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