The other day, my husband sent me an article that he felt would inspire me. He was spot on! I’ve never thought of my anxiety as a way to enhance my performance, but after reading this article, I’ve been so excited to try it out. The article goes into detail about a case study done on why anxiety is actually good for your performance. Meaning, things like stage fright, test anxiety, cold feet, etc. In case you don’t want to follow the link above, allow me to give you a summary of the article.
We all have anxiety, it’s a completely normal response to stress. It’s our body’s natural alert to danger. A new study done by Journal of Individual Differences found that the people observed during stressful situations who embraced their anxiety and acknowledged it was able to use the energy from the anxiety to enhance their performance. Those individuals who labeled their anxiety and accepted it as a challenge, rather than a threat were able to reach their goals. It takes a lot of practice in order to move from feeling like your anxiety is a threat to feeling like your anxiety is a challenge (We tell this to our daughter all the time, who has anxiety pretty severely right now). It’s like exercising a part of your brain, just like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.
If you use the opportunity of a stressful situation to increase your mental strength by changing your mindset to “I see this as an opportunity to enhance my performance!” rather than, “This stress is FREAKING ME OUT!” I highly recommend reading the article.
What Did I Learn?
The times that I feel most anxious are when my children are sick, when I have to sing in front of an audience, when I have to take a test, when my husband goes out of town, when I have to meet with a superior, and when I’m going to a social event with people I’m not familiar with. My hands get sweaty and shaky and they cramp up into this super weird creepy claw thing, my heart races, I feel sick to my stomach, I get an intense headache, my vision blurs, I get a lump in my throat, my mouth is dry and my voice shakes. I haven’t yet been able to try out the tips from the article, but I really can’t wait to try. It’s going to be very hard, but I’m excited to use my knowledge to increase my mental strength.
I have been able to use these tricks to enhance my performance rather than allow my anxiety fuel my nerves. I’ll tell you this, it is really hard! It’s like this mental fight in my mind to drive out the horrible thoughts. Some days are easier than others, but seriously, it’s not easy to do this. BUT, it works!!! I guarantee it works! I’ll say it again, yes, it’s hard, but so, so worth it! And worth it to teach our children that it’s possible for them to be able to do this as well. They learn by example, and if they see that you can do it, they’ll believe they can do it, too.