• Shruti GOCHHWAL

What is Performance Anxiety? How Do I Deal with It?

Performance anxiety is defined as the fear of failing a task usually in the presence of other people. It makes you doubt your ability to perform a task.

Performance anxiety can severely affect your mental health and prohibit you from performing tasks that you are good at. It is commonly called stage fright.

Activities that commonly trigger performance anxiety issues:

●Public speaking ●Stage performances ●Exam performance ●Sexual activities ●Competition ●Sports These are a few examples of activities associated with performance anxiety. It can be triggered by any activity.

Causes of Performance Anxiety

Performance anxiety is primarily caused by stress and pressure. Performing a task in front of others can be a stressful affair for some people. This pressure along with the stress of achieving desirable results triggers performance anxiety.

Symptoms of Performance Anxiety

These symptoms usually appear just before the activity has to be done but, in some cases, they can persist for longer durations as well. ●Increased pulse rate ●Trembling and shivering ●Excessive sweating ●Breathing difficulty ●Blurred vision ●Nausea ●Vomiting ●Dry mouth ●Loss of consciousness

Treatment for Performance Anxiety

●Therapist: Some therapists are trained in treating anxiety disorders. Regular therapy sessions are beneficial in overcoming performance anxiety. Therapy is considered the best medication for anxiety.

A man and a woman sitting on chairs while talking.

Credits:Pexels Caption: Consulting a therapist can help overcome performance anxiety.


●Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: This therapy helps in changing behaviour patterns. It focuses on using self-help strategies to overcome problems.

●Medication: Propranolol is used to treat performance anxiety. Other anti-anxiety medications such as alprazolam are also used. Medications are not widely used to treat performance anxiety. They are only used in severe cases.

Tips to Deal with Performance Anxiety

The performance anxiety cure lies in changing your ways and overcoming the fear of failure in performance. The following activities can help in dealing with performance anxiety:

●Practice: Practicing makes you better and boosts your confidence in your abilities. The more your practice the better your chances of overcoming performance anxiety.

●Positivity: A positive attitude can significantly help with performance anxiety. Shift your focus from what could go wrong to what could go right. Achieving the desired result should be your motivation.

●Back Your Ability: Have faith in your ability to do well. Self-doubt is one of the biggest factors that cause performance anxiety. Avoid self-doubt and focus on self-motivation.

●Meditation: It is widely accepted that meditation can help in solving performance issues. Start with meditating once a week and increase as per your convenience.

A woman meditating.

Credits: Pexels Caption: Meditation calms a person down which allows them to deal with performance anxiety.


●Support Groups: A comfortable environment can help you overcome the problems. Joining support will help you see that you are not the only one suffering from this problem and the problem can be fixed.

●Healthy Lifestyle: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle improves the way you feel about yourself. This can help with performance anxiety.

●Start small: Start by performing in front of friends and family. Gradually increase the number of people.

●There is Always Another Chance: Performance anxiety is caused by the pressure we create on ourselves because we are worried about failing. Believe that there will always be another chance and that even this time it goes wrong, you can do it again.

Anxiety Attacks

The sudden overwhelming onset of symptoms of anxiety is known as an anxiety attack. Performance anxiety can trigger anxiety attacks.

Anxiety attacks can be severe.

How to Deal with Anxiety Attacks?

If you are suffering from an anxiety attack, you should do the following activities:

●Medication: Medications such as benzodiazepines can help in treating anxiety attacks. However, these medications should only be treated if prescribed by the doctor to take during an anxiety attack. Self-medication should not be done.

●Acceptance: Accept that you are having an anxiety attack. This will help you in realizing that the attack is temporary.

●Relax: Start an activity that relaxes you and calms you down. The activities can vary among individuals, but common examples include breathing exercises and stretching.

●Use Your Imagination: Picture yourself in a scenario where you are happy. It could be something from your past or it could be imaginary. Understand the concept of picturing a happy place and imagine yourself there. This technique can help you in calming down.

●Light Exercise: Exercise is helpful for some people but keeps the exercise light as there can be shortness of breath in some individuals.

●Find What Works for You: How to control anxiety attacks depends on the individual. Some people find drinking chamomile tea helpful while others prefer a glass of cold water. Understanding what works for you is an essential aspect of controlling anxiety attacks.

A woman jogging.

Credits:   Pexels Caption: Light exercise can help in dealing with an anxiety attack.


Takeaway

Performance anxiety is a common condition and most people suffer from it at a certain point in their life. If performance anxiety is causing you problems and affecting the things you want to do then you should try activities that help with it. There are treatment options available for performance anxiety. Therapy is very effective in helping people overcome performance anxiety.

The cure for performance anxiety is to have faith in yourself and overcome the fear of failing.

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