5 Steps to Overcome Performance Anxiety
Overcoming performance anxiety isn’t always an easy task or something that will happen overnight. But the good news is that millions of people suffer from this fear as well, so you’re certainly not alone. A good majority of people feel their nerves come alive when it’s time to hit the stage or give that important presentation at work. But anxiety is controlled by the flurry of self-defeating thoughts that get tossed around in your mind, which queues your body to react in various ways – sweaty palms, flushed cheeks, dry mouth, jittery vocal chords, and so forth.
Thankfully, there are many practical ways that you can begin to shift your focus so you can stand tall and conquer your fear. And we’re here to help! Here are a few useful steps that can help you overcome performance anxiety.
Control Caffeine Intake Beforehand
Many of us depend on that delicious jolt of caffeine to gets us in the zone and ready to take on the day. But too much caffeine can be bad news if you’re gearing up to give a presentation, perform on stage or do something that activates your performance anxiety. Caffeine can heighten your nerves, so try to limit your consumption on days where you may need to work to keep level-headed.
Practise Controlled Breathing
Whether you’re into meditation or not, practicing deep, controlled breathing is exceptionally effective and beneficial for calming your nerves and getting your body and mind focused. When you’re stressed out, your breathing automatically becomes shallow and begins to increase in pace. This accelerates your blood pressure and gets your body worked up into a vicious cycle. So before your next big ‘moment,’ take a few minutes alone to close your eyes and breathe in ten big breaths. Focus on inflating your belly as much as you can and then exhaling through your nose slowly. This will decrease your stress level and give your mind some much-needed clarity.
Ditch the Self-Defeating Thoughts
It’s hard to drown out those little thoughts of doubt that can work their way up into debilitating fear. Controlling and training your thoughts away from un-needed banter and self-talk is every bit as important as teaching your body to perform better. Any time you feel yourself drifting towards those self-defeating thoughts, change your focus immediately to something else. Think about what you’re contributing to your presentation, think about the value you’re bringing to the table, and start to visualize your success.
Practise, Practise, Practise
No matter what the context is, one of the most important steps to overcome performance anxiety is to practise. There’s no amount of steps that can help you if you’re not fully prepared for the task at hand. So make sure that you are entirely prepared when your big day arrives. This will allow everything to fall into place easily.
Talk It Out
Talking to a professional may also be beneficial if you are genuinely struggling to combat your performance anxiety. A professional counsellor can listen and help you understand how to take the necessary steps for your individual situation.
Overcoming performance anxiety is something we all struggle with. But it’s all a matter of practicing techniques such as these to quiet your nerves, ease your breath, and regain the focus and clarity you need to succeed. When you need someone to talk to, feel free to contact us and seek our advice – we’re here to help!