3 Ways To Overcome Performance Anxiety
Written by Brook Choulet, M.D.
Are you an athlete that needs to perform well to truly reach your potential and be successful in your daily life? More specifically, what does it mean to perform? According to the Oxford Dictionary, “to perform is to carry out, accomplish, or fulfill (an action, task, or function)1.
In this article, the term performance can be applied to both one’s personal and professional life, as every single person needs to carry out and accomplish certain tasks, actions, and functions everyday. Up to 20% of adults are affected by anxiety disorders each year(2). So how does one achieve peak performance in their daily life, both personally and professionally, despite worrying about the past, present, and future? This is just the tip of the iceberg, but here are 3 actionable skills to integrate into your daily life to set you up for success.
- Develop mindfulness techniques: Integrating various mindfulness strategies into your daily life can be a game-changer. The term mindfulness is very broad, but the overarching goal is to use mindfulness tools to manage anxiety and refocus on the present. Various tools can include breathwork, yoga, meditation, or journaling. As busy professionals or athletes juggling practice and competition, it can be challenging to incorporate new habits into your day. Developing a yoga or meditation practice does not need to be time-consuming, so make it work for your schedule. It can be helpful to do even a brief 5 minute guided meditation or quickly respond to a journal prompt. The key is consistency and building it into part of your routine. Through practicing mindfulness, you will be able to truly enhance your ability to stay centered and consistently perform at your best.
- Create routines and implement them into your day: Routines are essential to reaching peak performance, both personally and professionally. It seems like there is never enough time in the day to get everything done that needs to be done. The key is to be strategic and build routines into your day that are consistent. This will send a signal to your brain that it’s time to perform. People with anxiety often worry about the future, which is sometimes called anticipatory anxiety. You can create routines that incorporate mindfulness practice to serve as a calming for and a stabilizing anchor, allowing you to achieve maximum efficiency.
- Set realistic goals with actionable steps: Goal-setting helps guide what it is we’re striving for. It’s critical to your success to write down your goals and create actionable, tangible steps that create notable progression towards the goal. It is not enough to say “I want to build a successful company”. You must identify steps that will help you work towards achieving the goals. Through goal-setting, you can alleviate the pressures that contribute to anxiety. Turn the unproductive worries into productive and actionable steps that will help you perform better.
Start with small steps that you can consistently incorporate into your daily life. Rather than letting your worries hold you back, put them into action by identifying actionable steps to push yourself forward. Recognize the progress along the way and continue to build your positive mindset and strengthen your confidence. The key is consistency, whether it be with your mindfulness practice, your routines, or your goal-setting. Once you master these three tips, it will propel towards your goals that you’ve set by creating effective and efficient systems, allowing you to perform well in your personal and professional life.
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Munir S, Takov V. Generalized Anxiety Disorder. [Updated 2022 Oct 17]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441870/