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Reframing Performance Anxiety

Let’s talk about anxiety

Anxiety affects people by inducing the feeling of fear - they might notice symptoms such as a racing heartbeat, sweaty palms, avoidance or a feeling of something is about to go wrong ….

‘Why does it always rain on me ...? ‘Travis’

These are all probably very familiar feelings to most people. Symptoms may come on before a new experience, before meeting people, standing up and performing or the feelings may be there frequently without an obvious reason.....

Anxiety is created because bodily sensations, thoughts and or the environment are being evaluated as a threat. Ringing the alarm bells of he Amygdala. When this happens there is a chemical cascade of hormones released to induce alertness and arousal. The body becomes very aware of the surroundings and evaluates the level of threat. It can become tiring and unpleasant.

Everyone has this system but not everyone's system works in the same way.

Sometimes people will go into full flight or fight mode whereas others will evaluate the experience and Instead of feeling fear they may register a sense of anticipation, motivation or determination. These people may feel pumped up and experience excitement rather than fear. This positive influence will enhance their performance whereas when anxiety is present it can hold the person back and detract from their performance.

Excitement and Anxiety are very closely linked because the sensations they create in the body are very similar - but excitement is a positive emotion and focuses on things going well.

There are studies that state that by reframing feelings of anxiety as excitement it can actually improve performance and levels of confidence.

A way to reframe anxiety is to understand that the sensations in your body are normal and they are preparing you for a new thing that you have to do - Verbally reframe the threat as a challenge or opportunity.

And use the little mantra below...

' My body is preparing me - Thank you body - lets go!

Try it and see if it works for you!

Here's some science/research

Get Excited: Reappraising Pre-Performance Anxiety as Excitement (

Reappraising Threat: How to Optimize Performance Under Pressure - PubMed (

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