Tips for Overcoming Performance Anxiety

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If you notice your heart beating fast, your palms getting sweaty, and feeling nervous when you’re about to get up in from of a group of people and perform… you’re not alone!!!!

Millions of people suffer from performance anxiety. Athletes, musicians, actors and people who engage in public speaking often get performance anxiety. Performance anxiety can negatively affect your career as well as your self-confidence. The good news is that there are several things that you can do to help reduce your anxiety prior to performance.

Signs of Performance Anxiety include:

  • Heart Racing
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Trembling hands, legs, and voice
  • Sweaty Palms
  • Nausea

Effective Ways to Reduce Performance Anxiety:

  1. Use relaxation and breathing exercises to help relax your body. A great way to do that is through using Belly Breathing. Belly Breathing is different because you breathe while expanding your belly rather than your chest. You can download an app to your smartphone to help you learn how to Belly Breath and guide you through a breathing exercise. A great app to try is Breathe 2 Relax.
  2. Once you have worked on calming your body, you now need to work on calming your mind. There are several ways to do this. Try these tips: 
    1. Distract your mind away from thinking about feeling nervous to perform. You can try counting along with your breathing as you inhale and exhale. You can also imagine yourself in a place that is relaxing and tranquil for you, maybe the beach or imagine yourself hiking on a sunny day.
    2. Say positive affirmations to yourself. You can say things like, “I can do this,” or “I’ve prepared myself for this.” Try to develop a list of positive affirmations that you can say to yourself prior to performing so you have a list you can choose from rather than having to think of them on the spot.
    3. Visualize yourself performing and performing successfully. If you can imagine yourself performing successfully, it makes it more likely that you will succeed.

What NOT to do:

Do NOT think of failing or saying to yourself, “What if I fail?” Thinking about failure is going to increase your performance anxiety and potentially set you up to fail before you have even performed.

Keep in mind that performance anxiety is usually at its peak just prior to performance and often goes away once you get started.

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