Overcoming Performance Anxiety in Music, Acting, Sports, and More
If you dread the thought of getting up in front of a group of people and performing, you are not alone. Millions of people suffer from performance anxiety, commonly called “stage fright.” In fact, most people would rather get the flu than perform. Athletes, musicians, actors, and public speakers often get performance anxiety.
Performance anxiety can prevent you from doing what you enjoy and can affect your career. Worst of all, performance anxiety can negatively affect your self-esteem and self-confidence. Although it may be impossible to totally overcome performance anxiety, there are many things you can do to control your emotions and reduce anxiety.
Performance Anxiety Symptoms
Being the center of attention and having all eyes on you can be stressful. Your body reacts to this situation in much the same way as it would if you were being attacked. Your body’s “fight-or-flight” mechanism kicks in, which is why symptoms of stage fright are similar to symptoms that occur when you are in real danger.
Performance anxiety symptoms may include:
- Racing pulse and rapid breathing
- Dry mouth and tight throat
- Trembling hands, knees, lips, and voice
- Sweaty and cold hands
- Nausea and an uneasy feeling in your stomach
- Vision changes
Performance Anxiety Causes
Simply put, stress and anxiety about performing in front of people causes performance anxiety. Confronting your fears and vulnerabilities, accepting yourself for who you are, and not feeling like you have to prove yourself to others, is the first step toward overcoming performance anxiety. Keep in mind that nobody is perfect, nobody expects you to be perfect, and it is OK to make mistakes.
The second step is learning how to redirect your negative thoughts, beliefs, images, and predictions about performing in public. Doing this is not as difficult as you might think.
Performance Anxiety Treatments
Here are 10 tips to help you overcome your fears and shine on stage, on the field, or at the podium:
- Be prepared: practice, practice, practice.
- Limit caffeine and sugar intake the day of the performance. Eat a sensible meal a few hours before you are to perform so that you have energy and don’t get hungry. A low-fat meal including complex carbohydrates — whole-grain pasta, lentil soup, yogurt, or a bean and rice burrito — is a good choice.
- Shift the focus off of yourself and your fear to the enjoyment you are providing to the spectators. Close your eyes and imagine the audience laughing and cheering, and you feeling good.
- Don’t focus on what could go wrong. Instead focus on the positive. Visualize your success.
- Avoid thoughts that produce self-doubt.
- Practice controlled breathing, meditation, biofeedback, and other strategies to help you relax and redirect your thoughts when they turn negative. It is best to practice some type of relaxation technique every day, regardless of whether you have a performance, so that the skill is there for you when you need it.
- Take a walk, jump up and down, shake out your muscles, or do whatever feels right to ease your anxious feelings before the performance.
- Connect with your audience — smile, make eye contact, and think of them as friends.
- Act natural and be yourself.
- Exercise, eat a healthy diet, get adequate sleep, and live a healthy lifestyle.
Keep in mind that stage fright is usually worse before the performance and often goes away once you get started.
Overcoming Performance Anxiety: Tricks of the Trade
There are also mental tricks you can play to help you perform with less anxiety. These include:
- Focus on the friendliest faces in the audience.
- Laugh when you can, it can help you relax.
- Make yourself look good. When you look good, you feel good.
These tips should help reduce performance anxiety. But if they don’t, talk to a counselor or therapist trained in treating anxiety issues. You may benefit from more intensive therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, to help overcome performance anxiety. In addition, beta-blockers such as propranolol that lower the heart rate and block the effects of adrenaline are sometimes used by people with performance anxiety.
Confronting your fears and learning ways to reduce and manage them can be empowering. Not only will it make you feel good about yourself, you may discover that you are a more confident performer, too.
How Athletes Can Conquer Sports Performance Anxiety
Athletes focus on several variables to make sure they perform at their best: maintaining a nutritious, healthy diet, training regularly, taking the right supplements, and getting enough rest. But performance is not just about being in optimal physical shape; psychological factors play an important role, too.
When you have a game, race, or competitive event coming up, you can experience sports performance anxiety. It can come in the form of over-excitement, nervousness, or even trepidation, which can interfere with decision-making and performance.
6 Steps to Overcome Sports Performance Anxiety
How do we deal with sports performance anxiety? Here are six proven techniques to ensure you’re in an optimal mental state before your next competitive event:
Practice, practice, practice.
Practice makes perfect, whether you’re playing solo or with a team. Nothing will build your confidence and skills like consistent training. A good coach will help you and your team set goals, develop an action plan, and ensure you get enough practice, building your confidence before the game or competition.
2. Keep routines in place.
Routine makes us feel comfortable because it’s familiar, and this helps reduce stress levels. In my work with athletes, I ensure that we do not introduce any new variables, such as new equipment or apparel, into our pre-competition routines.
3. Reframe anxiety.
Instead of thinking of anxiety as negative, realize that you are anxious because you have invested a significant amount of energy and time into preparation. Realize that you are prepared beyond every stretch of the imagination.
4. Reduce outside interactions.
In the hours leading up to the competition, restrict interaction with outside individuals to a bare minimum. For the athletes I train, only the most essential team members are allowed in the inner sanctum. This helps them keep focused and relaxed.
5. Channel energy and focus.
Thirty minutes before the competition, try moving into a silent zone. Use visualization, mindfulness, and other techniques to channel energy and focus, which will help you keep calm and mentally prepared for the upcoming event.
6. Mimic the energy you want in the competition.
Ten minutes before the competition, gradually make the switch in your energy from calm to enthusiastic. Start building excitement about the competition. Get in the zone: that mental place where you are confident, energetic, and ready to give it your best.
The Role of Mindfulness and Meditation
Anxiety can be a distraction, making athletes think about the outcome instead of concentrating on the execution. Through mindfulness and meditation, athletes can focus their energy and awareness on execution, and thus the distraction of the result will melt away.
Both practices help cultivate intentional awareness on a single point of focus and hold it there. It also increases the time between an initial thought or intention and the moment of action. Between thought and action is an entire world of possibility.
A mindful athlete is less likely to suffer from performance anxiety. They have cultivated the art of channeling their energy on execution, and this is the secret to sustained high performance.
Breathwork, meditation, sitting in silence, and focusing on a single object are all examples of mindfulness practices that can cultivate this heightened sense of awareness.
How to Overcome Sports Performance Anxiety
This blog curates the voices of the Division of Psychoanalysis (39) of the American Psychological Association. Mitchell Milch, LCSW, submits this post.
Performance anxieties are like fire alarms. They appear to exist outside of us but, in truth, are projections of what could’ve, should’ve or would’ve happened to us during childhood. These recollections or fantasies are pulled into consciousness by associations between what is going on now and what we recall happened, wish could have happened, or dreaded happening long ago. Here is how to defend against these phantoms from your past so they don’t influence your present.
How do you feel as you toe the starting line at a running race or face the jump ball at your rec league basketball game or wait for the opening serve at your health club tennis tournament? If you’re like me and millions of other motivated, recreational athletes around the country, your instinctive effort to protect yourself from perceived threat or the expectation of threat may make you lose sight of why you’re running of jumping or returning serve in the first place. You lose your focus often without even realizing it.
Both outcomes are fraught: you’re as scared stiff by the possibility of success as you are by the possibility of failure. Running fast is as fear-inducing as running slowly. Or perhaps, you’re frightened of losing control of your body when tired. Most importantly, you’re unaware of these influences that control you. These influences include self-defeating behaviors such as inadequate or excessive warm-ups, poor pacing, and inattentiveness to running form (insert your sport’s equivalents here). These performance anxieties that swallow us are the modern byproducts of archaic fears of disapproval, rejection, envy, abandonment, and annihilation, etc.
The key to managing these performance anxieties is to disarm the fire alarms. By controlling your emotional thermostat you preclude the need to defend against it in self-defeating ways. Stay calm and you won’t have to deploy self-defeating strategies in search of calm. In this state of focused readiness, you can know the difference between what is inside you outside you, and what has already happened versus what may occur. What are the real and the perceived, emotional risks of giving your best effort? In a state of maintained centeredness, you can know the difference. Distancing your current effort from the expectations and results of previous efforts, most often you can see the current risks as reasonable and justified.
Research shows that two effective strategies to mediate performance anxieties are meditation and guided imagery—both elements of mental rehearsal. Remembering the past creates our anxieties and imagining the future can dismantle them. Your imagination shapes your reality, so harness it to serve your needs.
Jack Nicklaus, arguably the greatest golfer who ever lived, was never the best ball striker. Still, golf immortal Bobby Jones once remarked: “He plays a game I am not familiar with.” What Jones meant was that despite the mechanics of club against ball, Nicklaus was playing an internal, mental game that trumped his opponents’ mechanics. Before he swung the club, Nicklaus visualized a positive result. Then he offered himself positive suggestions and tuned out negative thoughts. Finally, he went on automatic pilot and made a pass at the golf ball with full trust in his muscle memory.
Here’s how to approximate Nicklaus’s mental game in your sport. A few weeks before an important race or game or meet, try sitting every second day for 15-20 minutes alone in a room in a comfortable chair with your eyes closed. Sit with legs and arms uncrossed. Begin to visualize your stomach as a brightly colored balloon. Slowly and deeply breathe in and out and visualize your stomach (not your lungs!) inflating and deflating. Use your breathing as a point of concentration. When your mind inevitably wanders, patiently bring your attention back to your breathing. Notice how your anxiety level rises and falls depending on how successful you are at maintaining focus or how your mind wanders to other things including your event.
During these exercises, begin to imagine performance situations. For example, visualize yourself going through your race day ritual. Visualize every stage of your event and write a positive script in your imagination. Is it winning? Is it finishing? Is it a PR or other improvement? Is it an experience free of pain or anxiety? Observe the shifts in your anxiety level during this imagination and the variables that impact it. When self-defeating messages or images enter your mind, work to erase these images and return focus to your breathing. Within realistic reason, challenge or replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk.
For example, if you start to hear yourself saying, “I’m too tired to keep this pace,” then, you can replace this message with, “Relax and trust my training.” Experiment with a manageable number of high priority verbal/mental cues to ensure quality control of your performance technique. For example, my cues during running focus on relaxation of facial muscles, driving my arms around a still torso and, letting my arm swing determine my leg lift and stride length.
The more you experience and gain insight into your internal obstacles to optimal performance, the greater will be your ability to contain and manage your anxieties. This will keep you from blurring boundaries between inside and outside, past and present, expectations and possibilities. Practice at home and then apply the same techniques at the starting line or even in the middle of your race.
Even if you’re not destined to be Jack Nicklaus, meditative relaxation techniques and guided imagery will help you get more mileage out of your training and performance than you ever imagined. See you at the starting line!
6 Tips for Managing Your Anxiety From Olympic Sports Psychologists
If you’ve been watching the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang this month, then you’ve recognized that these incredible athletes exhibit another seemingly superhuman talent outside of their chosen sport: the ability to perform under pressure. For many of them, that means managing some level of anxiety—ranging from your average prerace jitters to almost debilitating levels that could derail their game.
They do it with the help of sports psychologists, also often called mental skills coaches, who help competitors mentally prepare to crush it in competition.
“Just like training, you have to be able to train your mind as well,” Lauren Loberg, Ph.D., who works with 2018’s giant slalom gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin (as well as NFL players), tells SELF.
Olympic athletes are dealing with anxiety in extreme circumstances. But the strategies they use aren’t particularly unique to athletics.
Most Olympians are working through what we call performance anxiety specifically related to their sport, as opposed to a clinical diagnosis like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), Michael Gervais, Ph.D, a high-performance psychologist who worked with the women’s beach and indoor volleyball teams at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, tells SELF.
Since anxiety in any form is characterized by excessive worrying about and fearing the future, the goals and methods psychologists use can be similar, whether you’re facing Olympic-level nerves, mild social anxiety, or GAD. “A lot of the principles are the same,” Carlin Anderson, Ph.D, the sports psychologist for the U.S. Olympic Curling Team, tells SELF via email from PyeongChang.
“In essence, it is life skills,” Loberg explains. “People look at [Olympians] as if they’re special people, and they’re not. They’re people with special talents. And they’re still human, and the same struggles pop up, [whether] you’re going for an Olympic medal or whatever it is.” She adds, “Someone walking into a job interview is going to use the same skills they’re using standing in the gate getting ready to race.”
With this in mind, we spoke to a few sports psychologists who have worked with Team USA Olympians to learn about some of the anxiety management strategies that us non-Olympians could also benefit from.
1. Just go ahead and expect to be nervous before a big event or presentation.
The idea of completely banishing your nerves or anxiety might sound optimal, but in practice, it’s completely unrealistic. “You can think about it like a little sibling who’s going to keep coming back and bugging you,” Loberg says. “You can try to block it out, you can try to ignore it, but it’s coming back.”
Everyone experiences some level of anxiety, which isn’t necessarily harmful unless it interferes with your daily life. And for athletes, the rush of adrenaline triggered by a certain level of anxiety can actually be beneficial on a physiological level. So sports psychologists instead teach their athletes to come to terms with their anxiety.
“[R]ather than trying to get rid of the nerves, it’s more helpful to prepare for them and figure out how to perform with the nerves,” Anderson says. If you have a fear of public speaking, for example, it’s more helpful to accept that you’re probably always going to feel some level of nervousness before an event, and that it doesn’t have to stop you from doing what you need to do.
2. Realize that even if the final outcome is out of your hands, there are some things you can control in the moment.
“The biggest thing when someone’s getting anxious is identifying what it is that’s making them anxious,” Loberg says, “and then, maybe more importantly, whether it’s something they have control over.”
How Coaches Help Athletes Cope
Big sporting events can mean big nerves for those competing. But sometimes that unsettled feeling goes beyond typical jitters, and athletes have difficulty performing during the event — and in their everyday lives.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions in the United States. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, about 18% of the U.S. adult population, or 40 million people, experience anxiety each year. Performance anxiety, or stage fright, can lead people to avoid doing things they love and affect how well they do them.
Athletes are no different. Sports anxiety causes athletes to perform poorly, and it can affect their confidence and self-esteem. But athletes have ways to cope, and coaches can help them address the problem before it leads to more serious consequences.
What Is Sports Anxiety?
Sports anxiety, sometimes called “choking,” is diminished athletic performance caused by stresses surrounding a sporting event. The feeling goes beyond typical pre-event nervousness to interfere with the athlete’s ability to compete.
Causes of Sports Anxiety
High expectations from oneself and from family and friends can create anxiety about performance. Social media can exacerbate the issue, facilitating the quick spread of stories and videos of individual sports performances worldwide.
The high-profile nature of competing in public becomes even more stressful when coupled with these frequent causes of sports anxiety:
- Returning from injury — Concern about re-injury or about the amount of time needed to return to past performance levels
- Fear of failure — Worry about failing to live up to expectations
- Fear of success — Concern about the responsibilities and commitments that success brings
- Unhealthy lifestyle — Failure to get the sleep and nutrition required for good physical and mental health
- Perfectionism — Feeling that any mistake makes a performance unworthy
- Postgame analysis — Negative feedback that affects the mindset
Signs of Sports Anxiety
Players experiencing pregame nervousness may be distracted or unable to sit still, but that typically disappears once competition begins. For athletes with sports anxiety, however, the stress doesn’t end there, and can cause physiological symptoms such as:
- Increased heart rate and quick breathing
- Sweaty, clammy hands
- Dry mouth and throat
- Shaky body and voice
- Blurred vision
The mind’s response to sports anxiety can be more serious. Anxiety’s physical effects can make moving fluidly and with confidence difficult for an athlete, affecting performance. These performance issues can lower an athlete’s self-esteem and self-confidence. If left unchecked, the anguish that anxiety can cause may lead to more dangerous outcomes, even suicide.
How Coaches Can Help Athletes Cope with Sports Anxiety
Recognizing the symptoms of sports anxiety is the first step to coping with it, and coaches can help lead the way in tackling the problem. Approaches based on facing the issue rather than pushing it aside are most effective.
To help encourage a positive mindset, coaches should be aware of how they’re addressing athletes. They should praise effort, not just outcomes. And coaches should resist language that adds pressure, such as, “We have to win this game.”
Preparation helps prevent anxiety during performance. Practices and warmups that incorporate multiple repetitions of the movements required during competition will help those moves to become second nature.
The following are some tips coaches should encourage athletes to follow to cope with sports anxiety:
- Practice mindfulness, focusing on the now and breathing.
- Follow a healthy lifestyle, getting enough sleep and avoiding substance abuse.
- Establish a group of friends and family who will provide support.
- Recognize that we can control only our own thoughts and actions.
Athletes experiencing anxiety as they return from injury may benefit from goal setting and targeted relaxation techniques such as sport-specific visualization. During visualization, an athlete establishes a mental image of a desired outcome, thinking of a past or future outstanding performance. The imagery should be as detailed as possible, with the visualization including the following practices:
- Picturing the images associated with the positive outcome
- Feeling how the body reacts to the desired result
- Hearing the roar of the crowd responding to the performance
When athletes practice this visualization on a regular basis, they train their minds and bodies to perform as imagined in actual competition.
Mental health professionals also are a great resource to guide athletes in overcoming anxiety — but coaches should suggest this help in a way that doesn’t cause an athlete to feel shame or alienation.
Skills Needed to Help Athletes
Coaches must know their sport and push athletes to perform at their highest level. But coaches are also mentors, friends and caretakers charged with helping those who are struggling. Basic understanding of leadership skills and sports psychology can give coaches the edge when helping athletes cope with issues such as sports anxiety.
The following are some coaching skills that can help athletes:
- Understanding of individual athletes’ needs
Good coaches also rely on leadership-driven strategies such as visualization and encouraging language to help athletes when sports anxiety arises.
Level Up Your Coaching Game with Rider University
Ready to level up your coaching skills? An advanced degree in athletic leadership can help you gain the tools you need to better assist your athletes.
With Rider University’s Master of Arts in Athletic Leadership program, you can choose from tracks that include Coaching and Sports Psychology. You’ll learn about leadership, communication and other coaching fundamentals — and you’ll hear it directly from sports professionals, on a flexible schedule that fits your life.
Explore Rider’s Master of Arts in Athletic Leadership curriculum, and make a move to enhance your coaching game today.
10 Leadership Lessons from the Best NBA Coaches
Careers in Sports Psychology: Helping Athletes Excel
What Is Sports Psychology? Examining the Mental Side of Athletics
Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Facts & Statistics
Cleveland Clinic, How to Mentally Come Back from a Sports Injury
CleverMemo, “12 Coaching Skills That Make You a Good Coach”
New Health Guide, How Does Anxiety Affect Sports Performance?
Psychology Today, “Combating Depression and Anxiety in Sports”
Sport Psychology Today, “3 Things Coaches Can Do to Help Players Overcome Anxiety”
Team USA, Tips for Helping Athletes Overcome Sports Anxiety
Verywell Fit, “Qualities of a Good Sports Fitness Coach”
Verywell Fit, “Sports Psychology for Performance Anxiety”
Verywell Fit, “Visualization Techniques for Athletes”
WebMD, Stage Fright (Performance Anxiety)
How to help a child with sports anxiety
When the pressure increases, kids get nervous.
Some athletes switch into “go” mode and get excited to go out there and do their best. Other athletes get worried and tense up. They might turn negative, withdraw, or give up before they’ve started.
No matter how many private lessons or pep talks, you never know if your kid will end up in tears or glowing with success. And you don’t know what they need from you.
Should you try to analyze it with them? Give them tough love? Back off and let them figure it out? Are you helping or just making it worse?
There’s nothing worse than a drive home in silent disappointment.
Sports anxiety is one of the key predictors of longevity of participation and enjoyment in sport (Gould, Greenleaf, & Krane, 2002). In order for your child to have a long and enjoyable sport career, it’s critical that they learn to cope with the pressure of competition. I’ll let you in on what the sport psychology research says about anxiety. I’ll also help you to determine if your child’s nerves are helpful or harmful. Then, I’ll show you what causes it, and what you need to know to help your child through it.
Sports anxiety is a tendency to view competitive situations as threatening and to respond to these situations with apprehension and tension (Martens, Vealey, & Burton, 1990).
When under pressure, motor skills that are usually automatic become impaired by additional tension. Athletes “choke” while attempting well-learned tasks (Baumeister, 1984). Even highly-skilled athletes fall into the downward spiral of making “stupid mistakes” on skills they have been practicing for years. They get obsessed with the fear that it will happen again. This makes them even more tense and likely to mess up again.
There are mental, physical and behavioral components to sports anxiety. The physical component (somatic anxiety) includes symptoms like:
- Increased heart rate
The mental component (cognitive anxiety) includes:
There are also personality factors to consider. Some athletes are more prone to competition anxiety if they have a predisposition toward high anxiety in many situations.
Somatic anxiety was found to predict poor performance under pressure. This is likely because an athlete’s focus is directed away from what they should be doing, to body sensations that are not conducive to performance (Wang, Marchant, Morris, & Gibbs, 2004).
Cognitive anxiety, which is more common in females and older athletes, also contributes to concentration disruption (Grossbard, Smith, Smoll, & Cumming, 2009). Athletes who have more anxiety in general are more likely to experience poor performance under pressure (Martens et al., 1990; Wang et al., 2004).
The good news is that there are highly effective coping skills that anyone can learn. Although anxiety is a reality for some kids more than others, most can learn to thrive in competitive situations.
Not all anxiety in sport is harmful. Anxiety can benefit performance through focusing energy and attention on the task at hand (Lazarus, 1984). Other research has shown that negative emotions such as pre-competition anxiety can lead to increased effort (Eysenck et al., 2007). Despite an initial negative interpretation of anxiety, these emotions can be helpful for increasing motivation, effort, and/or focus (Neil et al., 2011).
Harmful anxiety is related to the athlete’s interpretation of the negative emotions (Neil et al., 2011). When an athlete sees anxiety as something that will hurt performance, this can trigger increased physical anxiety, resulting in further negative thoughts (Lazarus, 1998).
When emotions are perceived as detrimental to the upcoming performance, negative feelings intensify and interfere with the athlete’s concentration, affecting their ability to execute necessary tasks (Neil et al., 2011).
If a child has had the experience of “choking,” then they feel their body ramping up with nervous energy, they get more nervous, compounding the negative feelings. This sets in motion the Sports Anxiety Cycle:
- They believe that getting nervous will negatively impact their performance
- They get nervous
- They believe they will not do well, which makes them more nervous
- They don’t do well
- The pattern is further solidified
Two types of stressors lead to increased anxiety in athletes: performance stressors and organizational stressors.
- Performance stressors are related to preparation, risk of injury, expectations, self-consciousness, and rivalry.
- Organizational stressors are related to the competition environment, an athlete’s perceived responsibility, leadership, and expectations for improvement.
Lots of factors determine the way an athlete responds to competition stress (10.1080/08917779008248733″>Smith, Smoll, & Schutz, 1990). These factors include:
- The athlete’s typical sport anxiety level
- The nature of the competitive situation
- Personal coping strategies
If an athlete is generally nervous in sport or competitive situations, if they are feeling a lot of pressure, or if they lack coping strategies, he or she is much more likely to lose control.
In order to break the pattern of anxiety, an athlete’s brain must be re-wired for success. Kids need to learn a new reaction to competition. I teach athletes simple cognitive strategies that dissolve the pressure of “big” competitions. Successful athletes have developed a mindset that allows them put their best foot forward every time.
Heil’s psychophysiological model of risk discusses how fear of injury can negatively impact performance and actually increase the athlete’s likelihood of becoming injured. Chase, Magyar, and Drake (2005) studied gymnasts who had been injured previously. These gymnasts’ feelings of apprehension, anxiety, and fear were heavily influenced by the fear of being injured again.
Fear of injury actually increases the likelihood of injury. And of course, injury increases the fear of injury. Thus we have another potentially debilitating mental cycle of fear and stress. Strategies like imagery and confidence building, when done right, can break the cycle.
Sport performance anxiety involves irrational fears of things related to performance and being evaluated. Research shows that fear of failure, not looking good to peers, or disapproval by significant others (like parents and coaches) provide some of the biggest contributors to sport performance anxiety (Smith et. al., 1995; 10.1080/08917779008248733″>Smith et al., 1990).
Perfectionists tend to have more sport anxiety because they are highly self-critical and concerned with how they appear to others.
Many, if not most, high achievers fall into this category. The qualities that make them great (attention to detail, motivation to succeed, dedication) also lead to competition meltdown. Highly self-conscious athletes were more susceptible to choking under pressure. The reason for this is that athletes who have a predominantly internal, critical focus are more sensitive to concerns of performance outcomes and evaluation by others (Wang et al. , 2004).
Passer (1983) found that children with higher levels of sport performance anxiety were more afraid of failure and criticism from significant others. They also worried more about making mistakes, playing badly, and losing than those with less overall sport anxiety. Because coaches administer approval and disapproval based on athlete performance, they play an important role in the development and maintenance of performance anxiety (Smith et. al., 1995).
For athletes who fear failure and disapproval, critical or punitive feedback from coaches or parents can lead to an environment that is detrimental to peak performance (Passer, 1988).
Regardless of what causes it, perceptions of fear have the ability to interfere with an athlete’s attention and disrupt future performance (Bandura, 1997; Chase et al., 2005).
Selective attention is a key element of sport success. This is the ability to focus on specific things while ignoring others. In an anxious state, selective attention is impaired because of the automatic attentional shifts to internal and external responses to a threat (Wilson, Vine & Wood, 2009).
In other words, It’s natural to become hyperfocused on a threat. This, however, will not allow an athlete to perform well if they are focused on the wrong thing.
Think of focus like a spotlight. There are only so many things you can light up at once. Typically an athlete can pay attention to just one or two things at a time. If an athlete is consumed by the threat of a competitor, or what people will think of them, it’s impossible to remain focused on execution or other relevant tasks. If they point their flashlight at the other team or to their pounding heart, they can’t see what matters, leaving them wondering why they blew it.
Here’s an example:
A study was done involving soccer players performing a penalty kick. Players who were more anxious spent more time looking at the goalie (the threat) than the corners of the goal, leading to more unsuccessful kicks than those who were less anxious (Wilson et al. , 2009). According to Eysenck and colleagues (2007), this is because anxious athletes are less able to control their attention and prevent it from wandering.
When an athlete is anxious, his or her spotlight automatically shines on distractions or threats. Fortunately, the self-control necessary to maintain focus on what matters in a state of anxiety can be strengthened (Baumeister et al., 2006). Athletes can learn to keep their spotlight pointed on what will help them succeed, rather than what will make them fail.
Performance anxiety can also lead to a pattern of avoidance. If an athlete’s negative thoughts and emotions cause them to balk on a skill, without intervention, they will be more likely to avoid the task next time (Chase et al., 2005).
Just like athletes train their skills, they can train their mistakes. The more they have a negative reaction to stress, the more ingrained it becomes. When athletes fail to successfully complete well-learned skills, this can destroy confidence. It also decreases self-trust and the belief that they will be able to overcome the problem (Feltz, 1982).
This can lead to seriously bummed out kids.
The most important factor in determining whether an athlete will attempt or avoid a task or skill (Chase et al., 2005) is the belief that they can do it (Bandura 1977, 1997). Successfully overcoming sports anxiety is related to the level of confidence an individual has in his or her abilities (Bandura, 1977).
Bottom line – if you don’t believe you can do it… you will prove yourself right. If you believe in yourself, you can overcome performance fears and anxiety.
A study done on gymnasts (Chase et al., 2005) revealed that past success, consistency, and communication with significant others had positive impacts on self-belief.
So, talking to your child, highlighting their successes and celebrating their efforts does help build their confidence. When an athlete is struggling with anxiety around a particular event or skill, there are proven ways to get back on track.
Strong belief in an athlete’s ability to perform a specific task will often override performance fears (Chase et al., 2005).
Typically an athlete’s confidence is built on a foundation of past success (Chase et al., 2005). By taking baby steps, celebrating effort, and remaining committed to moving forward (Skinner, 1963), athletes can regain a history of success and increase self-belief. This decreases the anxiety associated with a “problem” skill. I have seen this process work time and time again with young athlete clients.
Nicholls, Holt, Polman, and Bloomfield (2006) demonstrated that mental skills like positive self-talk, following a routine, relaxation, and re-defining anxiety increased an athlete’s ability to cope during performance. Peer support, physical preparation, and coaches’ influence also play an important part in helping athletes overcome their fears (Chase et al., 2005).
A study showed that an emphasis on effort and personal improvement, while reducing the pressure to win, resulted in decreases in physical anxiety and worry in participants (Smith, Smoll, & Cumming 2007). Positive reinforcement of effort as opposed to focus on outcome also reduced stress and anxiety by increasing an athlete’s perceptions of control (Folkman, 1984).
Negative emotions may actually be beneficial for an athlete if monitored and framed in a constructive way. Neil and colleagues (2011) recommend that performance coaches monitor athletes’ interpretation of their emotions and help shift them toward a success mindset.
It’s important to determine whether the athlete is still focusing on distracting thoughts or has restructured them to increase motivation, improve concentration and boost effort. I work with kids to identify patterns that serve them and those that don’t. Together, we pick out thoughts that lead to motivation, concentration, and effort. We also seek out patterns that lead to distractions and stress. When we have figured out what is causing their particular brand of sports anxiety, we structure a plan and begin to re-wire the brain for peak performance and maximum enjoyment.
I’ve gone over some of the factors that determine whether higher levels of anxiety help or hurt performance. The way your child views the experience of nerves makes a huge difference in how it affects performance and enjoyment.
When kids allow their attention to shift from the task at hand to negative emotions, if intervention doesn’t happen right away, they start the downward spiral (Chase et al., 2005).
By reframing negative emotions and increasing self-confidence, athletes can override stress and fears, allowing them to perform at their best. This accomplishes our goal: happy, healthy, successful kids.
Performance Anxiety in Children’s Sports
Yes: Performance anxiety in children is very real. Kids often start to feel pre-game pressure as they move into more competitive levels of youth sports, or begin to compete solo. (They also might feel anxious about other things, like speaking in front of a group. )
Your child may be able to express their fears and say that they feel worried about an upcoming game or competition. Or they may have trouble connecting their anxious feelings to their sports performance. Either way, parents can step in to offer reassurance and help.
Identifying Performance Anxiety
Many kids won’t come out and say what they’re nervous about. They may not even realize they are anxious.
Signs of sport anxiety can include physical symptoms, unusual behaviors, or changes in thinking. Children may become irritable or have trouble sleeping. Your child might also talk about wanting to quit a beloved sport or activity. They may pretend to be sick or injured to avoid participating or even develop a physical symptom that stems from anxiety.
So how can parents figure out what’s going on? Sometimes it helps to approach the subject obliquely. You might tell your child about your own experience feeling nervous before a game or event—either recently, say if you ran a race or played a softball game, or when you were the same age your child is now. Or invoke the example of an athletic hero: “Do you think Steph Curry ever gets scared before a big game?” Prompts like these can help kids understand and name their feelings.
Try to help your child name the specifics of their worries. Are they worried about forgetting what to do? Letting down their team? Making a mistake? Getting hurt? Once you know, you can help reassure your child, and/or their coach to do the same. You can also problem-solve with them, suggesting some of the techniques below.
Parents also need to be cognizant of the fact that they can sometimes contribute to performance anxiety and stress, even without knowing it. For instance, some kids are more afraid of disappointing their parents than anything else. And for some, this fear can increase their anxiety levels. Be sure not to pressure your child to perform when they’re playing sports.
You can reduce performance pressures by being aware of the language you use before, after, and during a game.
For instance, be sure to praise effort and not results. Also, make sure you keep post-game discussions positive and avoid giving kids advice on how to improve. Unless they ask for your input, you should refrain from having too many discussions about what they did in the game or could have done differently.
How Kids and Teens Can Cope
Every child will respond differently, but these strategies for managing anxiety may be helpful. Talk through them together, then encourage your child to try a few to see what works best for them.
- Memorize a mantra: Sometimes anxiety stems from negative self-talk: “I can’t do this,” “I’ll never remember my routine,” “everyone will hate me if I mess up.” A mantra is a positive phrase that an athlete can use to replace those negative ones. Help your child come up with a phrase that means something to them, like “I am strong” or “I got this.” Then they can repeat it to themself often: in practice, at games, or anytime they hear that “can’t-do” voice in their head.
- Visualize: This can be an extension of the mantra technique. While repeating the mantra, your child can also visualize performing well.
- Practice, with and without moving: While practicing skills is critically important to success, sometimes mental rehearsal can make a big difference too. Coach your child to walk through their performance, picturing each step in order. They may even want to write everything down and review it. This technique allows your child to practice in the absence of game-like conditions. For example, a gymnast can envision each step of a floor routine even when they’re away from the gym.
- Set a goal: Talk to your child about what they hope to achieve at their next performance or game. Help them come up with an aim that is a stretch, but not unreachable. Instead of taking first place, maybe they want to beat a certain time or nail a particular skill. Focusing on that may take some of the pressure off of the overall event.
- Breathe deep: Deep or diaphragmatic breathing can reduce anxiety and help them feel more relaxed. They can practice at home, on the way to games or meets, in the locker room, or on the sidelines.
- Fake it ’til you make it: Smiling really does help, so tell your athlete to plaster one on—even if they don’t feel like it!
What Parents Can Do
Aside from coaching your child through the techniques above, you can also help by setting the stage for a lower-stress experience.
Not every child will believe or accept your words of reassurance, but some will. You can remind your child of how well they’ve done at past events, how much practice time they’ve put in, how much faith you and their coach have in them, and most importantly, that you love them very much no matter what happens. You can also remind them that some things are just out of everyone’s control: the weather, for example, or a judge’s whims. But never discount or brush off your child’s worries.
Do Your Part
Calm worries by making sure your child gets enough sleep and eats healthy foods. Most kids should be responsible for their own sports equipment, uniforms, water bottles, and so on. But you can make sure everything is packed early and allow enough travel time to get to events. Rushing to a game or tournament in a panic is a rough way to start out.
90,000 Sports anxiety. Articles of the company “TDSport
How to get rid of anxiety before and during volleyball games.
How to get rid of anxiety before and during volleyball games.
We notice when anxiety interferes with our favorite sports. As a volleyball player, you train for games. You dream of the moment when your kick, stop or spike gives you the perfect play or win point. What you don’t expect is a sudden fit of anxiety disrupting your flow.So how do you get rid of anxiety before and during volleyball?
Before you think you’re the only one dealing with sports anxiety, the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) reports that 85% of sports coaches have worked with student athletes with anxiety disorders. It’s not just athletes. A third of adolescents in the US and worldwide meet the criteria for anxiety disorders. The stress that an athlete creates not only from the crowd, but also from their own expectations creates psychological anxiety.The good news is that you can learn to control this reaction.
By understanding sport anxiety, you can take a fresh look at the sensations that arise. Plus, by learning how to use it before and after playing, you can effectively control your emotions. Knowledge is power, and sports anxiety is your secret weapon. The following seven techniques can help you control the severity and duration of your anxiety and reorient your mind to see the positive aspects of tension regarding your play.
- Proper food
- Talk to yourself
- Progressive muscle relaxation
Before we explore each of these methods in more detail, let’s look at some of the key aspects of sports anxiety, such as what it is, which athletes have the most sports anxiety, and whether it is harmful to athletes.
What is sport alarm
This is commonly referred to as choking, sports anxiety, or performance anxiety and negatively affects performance before or during a sporting event.Anxiety makes the body tense, which in turn negatively affects performance. Simply put, in a stressed state, the body cannot respond to its full capacity.
One way to determine if you have sports anxiety is to compare your performance in play with your training performance. If you usually kill him during training, but then move on to the real game and cannot seem to reach the same level as practice, it may be related to anxiety.Keep in mind that most people do experience anxiety at some point. It is when it affects your performance that red flags should appear.
Signs of sports anxiety include, but are not limited to:
- Racing Heart Rate
- Rapid Breathing
- Dry mouth / difficult throat
- Trembling hands / knees / lips
- Sweaty / cold hands
- Anxious feeling
- Vision changes
- Feeling of powerlessness / fear
- Feeling of impending danger / panic / death
- Weak / tired
Which athletes are most susceptible to sports anxiety
Although all athletes tend to be nervous before a competition, there are factors that increase the likelihood of anxiety. Athletes involved in specific sports are more likely to experience sports anxiety. In team sports, the pressure is distributed among several players. If the athlete is wrong, there are others to help recover the loss. In an individual sport, all the pressure falls on one athlete.
Experienced athletes have more competition experience than amateur athletes. They are well versed in how the sites are arranged, what individual tournaments offer and what tactics are used by opponents.They also used to expect certain sensations before performing. This experience allows them to better deal with performance anxiety when it does arise, rather than getting lost in their feelings.
Finally, the home court advantage is an important factor. Playing at home allows for acquaintance. The anticipation of an away game, unknown dressing rooms, courts and fans makes you nervous. This unfamiliarity creates the perfect playground for worry.
Mourer’s two-factor theory and sports anxiety
In 1960, Hobart Mourer developed a two-factor theory. In this theory, he suggested that in some situations there are observable factors that influence the outcome, as well as unobservable factors such as thoughts and feelings. In his experiment, he electrocuted a rat after the buzzer rang. Then the rat began to fear the sound of the buzzer. In this particular experiment, the rat began to dodge to avoid sounding the buzzer. This response is an avoidance response.
The danger is that by avoiding the stimulus, a feeling of relief is achieved.When this feeling of relief occurs repeatedly, avoidance continues. In the athlete’s case, if fear is failure and the result is the avoidance of certain activities that are believed to be the cause of failure, the result is a deeper fear of the stimulus. For example, if a volleyball player is afraid to hit the ball for fear of blocking, he may avoid hitting the ball and, in turn, never hit it. This fear can turn into playful anxiety.
Is anxiety harmful to athletes?
For some athletes, a rush of anticipation and adrenaline is what they live for. Once they start, the nerves scatter and they become hyper-focused due to the fight or flight response. This gives them additional impetus to overcome any obstacles.
The same reaction can hinder an athlete who lacks self-confidence. What is the impetus for one can be a boulder for another. When athletes have faith in their ability, they are less likely to contain anxiety rather than push forward. This self-confidence leads to the obvious conclusion that an athlete’s self-confidence is based not only on his own actions, but also on influence, coaches, teammates, and family support around him.
Surrounded by positive influences, anxiety can be seen as arousal and a necessary response that allows your body to be ready to go. Rather than focusing on the nerves holding someone back, hug them as your body does exactly what it needs to react quickly. Make sure you have coaches around you who encourage you to prove yourself, even if you were wrong, so that your pre-game anxiety is a positive response rather than a deterrent.
Seven ways to reduce stress while gaming
The secret to worry is learning how to manipulate it for your game. If you let your nervous system get the best of you, you will either freeze or burn out too quickly. Anticipating anxiety and having a plan to respond to it will help you achieve the best results.
When it comes to sports, try not to see anxiety as a bad thing. The other extreme is complete laziness without adrenaline and mediocre work.This lack of interaction can also lead to injury, as you are less likely to respond in a timely manner to stimuli such as a ball flying in your face or landing in a jump. Your task is to find a balance between too many nerves and not enough.
As with the exam, you would not have come and taken it. To get the best possible grade, you study, get a good night’s sleep, and eat well the next morning.Sports performance is no different.
In order to properly prepare for the game, it is important to start well before the game day. If you wait until morning, you won’t experience many factors that affect your game. One of these factors could be, for example, what food is best to eat before a game in order to gain energy without feeling heavy on the court. Sleep cycles are equally important. Too little sleep and time suffers, as well as the ability to get rid of mistakes. Too much rest and you run the risk of feeling sleepy while playing.Having identified these factors, use them for mental preparation.
2. Proper food
What you eat matters. Excess sugar or caffeine can negatively impact your performance due to subsequent failure. There is also some competition where excessive caffeine can be considered a drug. Make sure you know if your match has anti-doping rules and what they are exactly.
If you stuff yourself with meat, you will feel heavy, but refusing to eat can cause problems.Choose low-fat meals with complex carbohydrates. Some examples of these are lentils, whole grain pasta, yogurt or beans and rice. Burrito is often a convenient choice for your tournament lunch.
By creating a pre-performance routine, you train your body to know what to expect. This preparation allows you not only to be nervous, but also to balance the established daily routine. Perhaps you eat a special dinner, sleep with a specific pillow, set four alarms, wake up and wear a specific pair of socks, drink coffee from a Volleyball is Life mug, and braid your hair.If this is your routine, take comfort in it. Knowing what to expect will help you reduce your anxiety.
Another way to establish a daily routine is visualization. This technique is used to mentally walk through your pre-game routine throughout the game. You can even add a sense of how the nerves travel through your body when they act on you. By adding this bit, you will feel familiar and expected when it happens. Observe mentally as your body performs the perfect set or block.Complete the visualization right up to the jump landing, the sound of your boots on the court, and the screams in the stands. This procedure can be performed every night or on the way to the match.
How you talk to yourself matters. When you’re nervous, you have the ability to say, “Wow, I’m so nervous. I’m going to do so badly. I’m going to ruin everything. ” On the other hand, you can say, “I am so excited to have butterflies.It will be so much fun. I need to try the serve I was working on! “
The way we talk to ourselves changes our experience. When you are wrong, if you tell yourself that you are stupid and should not be on the team, you will mentally check and become afraid the next time the ball gets in your way. If, instead, you say you did better than last time, or analyze what you can do differently next time, your gaze will begin to shift in the direction of growth.
Statements are important to athletes. The web pages and books used as a therapeutic method for everyone are dedicated to daily affirmations. Find the ones you like, print them out and post them where you can read them daily. A bathroom mirror is a good solution as you visit it several times while brushing your teeth. Make sure you’re not just reading the words, but saying them out loud. It will be embarrassing at first, fair warning.
It’s no secret that breathing techniques help us calm the brain. When we inhale deeply, the breath is actually associated with the sympathetic nervous system. This system controls the fight-or-flight response. When you breathe out, you activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which calms us down. Concentrate on prolonged exhalations to help the body begin to calm down.
Square Breathing is a technique where you imagine a square.Pick a number such as four. Imagine yourself climbing up the left side of the square, inhale in four counts. Then, when you visualize walking across the top of the square, pause for four. Exhale in four counts, moving down the right side of the square, and then end by holding the last four counts as you travel down the bottom of the square to where you started. Repeat the process several times to get your body free of anxiety.
Another method – abdominal breathing . Lie down and inhale. Notice if your chest or belly is lifting. The goal is to eventually lift your belly and keep your chest relatively still. Remember that your breath goes in through your nose and out through your mouth. Control your breathing by trying to breathe evenly and for a long time.
Finally Alternate Nostril Breathing is a method where you press in your right nostril and inhale with your left.Squeeze both sides and hold for a moment. Release the right nostril and exhale through it. Pinch them again for a moment and hold your breath. This time, pinch your left nostril and inhale through your right. Pinch both to hold your breath. Release your left side and exhale. Pinch them to hold your breath again for a short while. This method is similar to square breathing, but the breathing exercise focuses on the nostrils.
6. Progressive muscle relaxation.
When you are nervous or have a panic attack, your body becomes tense.This tension, even if not consciously aware, will make your brain really become even more anxious. One technique is to squeeze a part of the body at a time, hold it for ten seconds, and then release it. Move through each muscle group, tensing and relaxing. By the time you work each muscle group, you will feel more relaxed.
7. Seek therapy.
When anxiety starts to interfere with your daily life or it seems like you cannot get rid of this feeling, seek help.School campuses often have therapists who work with athletes and are used to treat athletes with anxiety disorders. Because of the unique pressures on athletes, it is beneficial to work with a professional who is accustomed to the special anxiety needs of athletes.
Psychotherapy was once stigmatized, but now this tool has become more widespread. If you are a member of a school team, free therapy may be available to you. Check with your school and insurance policy before seeking medical attention to make sure you are not being paid more than expected.Be sure to ask how many visits your plan covers, as some rules only cover a small number of visits.
Worry is a normal human experience
With so many people experiencing anxiety, it’s incredible that many athletes still feel highlighted when they experience panic attacks. Remember, you are not alone. The techniques described in this article should help you deal with anxiety and actually use it to your advantage.Use the tools to transform anxiety from something that holds you back into something that propels you forward.
In volleyball, it is also important to have professional sports equipment, volleyball shoes will help give confidence on the court.
Online store Mizuno OK, site TDSPORT.COM.UA
How to overcome anxiety when you cannot “just calm down”
You can listen to this article. Play a podcast if you’re comfortable with it.
What Anxiety Can Be Associated With
Anxiety is ‘s natural response to stress.The body senses danger, triggers the fight-or-flight response, releases adrenaline and norepinephrine into the bloodstream, and the heart begins to beat faster.
But in some cases, anxiety attacks arise and quickly end. And in others, they become long and destructive. The scenario depends on why the alarm occurred.
Events that happen to you
Perhaps this is the most common cause of unrest. We are worried about the future. We are concerned about the health and well-being of loved ones.We are considering whether there will be enough money before the paycheck.
This everyday anxiety is not dangerous. It passes when the stressful situation ends. And it decreases when you switch to some kind of routine calming activity, get support from friends, or just say to yourself: “Get it together, rag!”
A striking example is premenstrual syndrome in women. Hormonal surges affect the work of the brain, which is why even a girl who is always balanced and generally satisfied with life can feel unhappy, offended, deeply worried about innocent reasons.
There are also more serious hormonal disorders. For example, hyperthyroidism (increased production of thyroid hormones) increases nervousness. This means that a person with such a disease reacts sharper and brighter to the slightest stress.
It develops if you find yourself in a stressful situation day after day. The fight-or-flight response becomes permanent, and the endless burst of hormones eventually depletes the body’s reserves.
Fear and anxiety remain, because the stressful situation has not gone anywhere.But in addition to them, new symptoms appear: weakness, rapid fatigability, a feeling of a lump in the throat, an acute desire to wrap up in a blanket and hide from the world.
As a result, the matter may reach the development of psychosomatic diseases and mental disorders.
The word “depression” is often used synonymously with “bad mood” or “fatigue”. But this is incorrect. Depression is a full-fledged mental disorder caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain.This is a serious illness, one of the symptoms of which is anxiety.
If left untreated, depression can cause other problems, such as heart and blood vessels, and other mental health problems.
Anxiety disorder is said to be when anxiety – persistent or in the form of acute attacks – lasts more than six months and manifests itself with physical symptoms: heart palpitations, sweating, weakness, inability to concentrate on anything other than fear.
But it is possible to assume this mental disorder even earlier – by a number of characteristic symptoms inherent in different types of anxiety disorders. The most common are listed below.
1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder
This definition conceals regular and excessive anxiety on the smallest grounds, which is almost uncontrollable and affects physical well-being. For example, you sincerely, to trembling knees and pain in the region of your heart, worry if a family member is delayed for five minutes.Or you break out in a cold sweat every time you take on a new project, because you are always afraid to make a mistake. It happens that even the phone ringing leads to panic.
Generalized anxiety disorder is often accompanied by other types of anxiety disorders or depression.
2. Social phobia
It is also a social anxiety disorder. A person is very sensitive to the attitude of others. He is terribly afraid of being ridiculed, rejected, unnoticed.
This fear is so great and uncontrollable that if it is necessary to “go out into the world”, the social phobia’s legs literally give way.Therefore, he avoids social contacts by all means.
3. Health-related anxiety disorder
It usually manifests itself in those who have a serious physical illness. For example, diabetes .
Diabetics may worry about the need to constantly monitor weight, diet, and blood sugar levels. They are worried about the high risk of complications: from hypoglycemia to heart or kidney disease, stroke.
Fears persecute those diagnosed with cardiovascular diseases, asthma and other respiratory disorders, cancer, skin diseases and so on.
4. Phobias and irrational fears
They are caused by specific objects or situations. For example, it may be a fear of spiders – so exaggerated that a person cannot enter the room if he notices a piece of cobweb. Or claustrophobia, which prevents a person from using elevators or the subway. Or the terror of flying.
5. Panic disorder
It is manifested by repeated attacks of severe panic. They do not last long, most often a matter of minutes, but they have extremely unpleasant symptoms: shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain, fear of impending death.
During panic attacks, a person does not control his behavior: he may fall or scream. Due to the fear that the attack may recur at any time, new disorders appear – the same social phobia or anxiety associated with a health condition.
Other mental disorders
Excessive and persistent anxiety is a common symptom of other mental disorders. For example, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (obsessive-compulsive disorder), manic-depressive psychosis, alcohol and drug use disorders.
How to understand what exactly you have
In essence, the question should sound differently: “I have anxiety that I can handle, or is the situation getting out of control?”
In fact, the border between these states is rather arbitrary. To find it, experts suggest to answer seven questions:
- Do you regularly find yourself worrying, annoyed, tense, and this becomes your habitual state?
- Does anxiety prevent you from working, studying, communicating with people, building relationships?
- Do you have an irrational fear (for example, you are afraid to go down the subway), but you cannot overcome it?
- Do you believe that something catastrophic can happen if you don’t do some things right (for example, not putting your shoes on the shelves or doing a little ritual before the start of the work day)?
- Are there situations or activities that you regularly avoid because you are afraid?
- Do you have sudden attacks of extreme panic during which you cannot control yourself?
- Do you feel that the world is an unsafe place in which it is enough to make a mistake to become a victim of scammers, get sick, lose money or lose close friends?
In principle, a single “yes” is enough to suspect an anxiety or other mental disorder. If there is more than one such answer, you need help.
How to get rid of anxiety, if it is not associated with a mental disorder
In this case, the usual methods of controlling stress will help. There are dozens of them. Here are the most popular and effective ones.
Take a few deep breaths and long exhalations
Scientists at Stanford University have discovered a region in the brain that links the frequency and depth of breathing and emotional state. As it turned out, the more actively and shallower we breathe, the more nervousness and excitement we experience.
Play soothing music or listen to the sounds of nature
In 2017, researchers proved that when people listen to the sounds of nature, their stress levels are noticeably reduced. The same goes for calm muted music.
By the way, here is the most soothing track recorded by the British Academy of Sound Therapy:
Do you feel like your life is out of control? Is it difficult for you to make decisions – or start a business? One way to overcome indecision or start a new project is to “do it badly”.
It may sound strange, but the writer and poet GK Chesterton remarked, “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” And he had arguments on this score. The reason it works so well is because it speeds up the decision-making process and forces you to take action.Otherwise, you could spend hours deciding how you should do something or what you should do, which can be very time consuming and stressful.
People often want to do something “great” or wait for the “perfect time” before starting. But this can lead to procrastination, long delays, or even prevent it from doing so altogether. And it causes stress and anxiety.
Instead, why not start “doing it badly” and worry about how it will turn out.This will not only make the job easier, but you will also find that you complete tasks much faster than before. More often than not, you will also find that you are not doing it as badly as you first thought – even if you do, you can always improve your work later.
Using “do it bad” as your main approach gives you the courage to try new things, adds a little fun to everything, and keeps you from worrying too much about the outcome. It’s about making it bad today and improving the hike.Ultimately, it is about liberation.
Forgive yourself and “take your time to worry”
Are you particularly critical of yourself and the mistakes you make? Imagine that you have a friend who constantly points out everything that is wrong with you and your life. You probably want to get rid of it.
But people with anxiety often act in the same way and do not understand it.
Therefore, it may be time to change your attitude towards yourself and start forgiving yourself for the mistakes you make.If a certain situation bothers you, do not criticize yourself – just give up negative thoughts and redirect your attention back to work at hand or something else.
Another effective strategy is to “take your time to worry.” If something went wrong and you have to worry (because you think you made a mistake), don’t panic right away. Instead, put your worries aside – choose 10 minutes a day during which you can worry about anything.
If you do this, you will find that after a while the situation you perceived with concern does not look so dire. And our anxious thoughts do dissolve very quickly if we don’t energize them.
Find a purpose in life by helping others
Also worth considering how much of your day is spent on someone else? If this is very little or not at all, then you are at high risk of poor mental health.No matter how hard we work or how much money we make, we cannot be truly happy until we realize that someone else needs us and depends on our productivity or love.
This does not mean that we constantly need praise, but caring for others distracts us (from our worries and concerns) and makes us worry about others.
Caring for others has been proven to be one of the most powerful means of maintaining mental health.Neurologist Viktor Frankl wrote:
For people who think that there is nothing to live and nothing to expect from life … it is worth finding a way to make them understand that life is still waiting for something from them.
Knowing that someone else needs you helps you get through the most difficult times. You answer the question “why” about your existence and you can find the answer to the question “how”.
So, how can you make yourself important to someone else’s life? It could be something as simple as caring for a child or elderly parent, volunteering, or a job that could benefit future generations.Even if people never understand what you did for them, it doesn’t matter, because you will know. And it will make you realize the uniqueness and importance of your life.
Original: The conversation
90,000 Why did labor productivity fall in developed countries, and how to overcome it
Recently, economists have been reconsidering their attitude towards free trade. On the whole, this is correct – and not only because China’s strong growth has been a big shock to American workers.In the past, there was a near universal consensus among economists that the best trade policy for any country was to unilaterally remove all barriers and distortions, even if trading partners did not do the same.
As long as the redistribution of financial flows helped people who lost their jobs, free trade was seen as a panacea.
This cozy consensus was challenged by an analysis of trade with China in the 2000s.During previous periods of globalization, employees displaced by international competition found new jobs with similar pay. But when trade opened with China, a fifth of the world’s population entered the labor market, while ready to work around the clock for very low wages. The rate and extent of the outflow of manufacturing in the United States appeared to be too great for workers who tended to work in low-wage jobs or in social security.
Thus, economists realized that there is a big problem in free trade that the classical theory did not foresee: the difficulty of adapting to sudden changes in the system.
There is a theory that cheap labor forces enterprises to save on investments in labor-saving technologies. With many low-wage workers around, why invest in expensive machines, especially if competitors are just copying your innovations? Replacing high-cost research with cheap workers may increase profits in the short term, but in the long term, this will negate innovation altogether.
If this theory is correct, then China’s trade shock in the 2000s may be holding back the growth of automation. Sooner or later, wages will inevitably rise, and lack of innovation undermines new developments. As such, the slow productivity growth experienced by developed countries may be an echo of free trade in the 2000s.
But such cases are limited to two important aspects. Above all, they ignore the enormous benefits that free trade has done for the previously impoverished people of China.Second, it is thanks to the rise in wages that China’s explosive growth is now ending.
And there is very little chance that India or African populous countries, where workers are still paid ultra-low wages, will be able to take China’s place anytime soon.
In addition, exports are likely to increase productivity and should be encouraged. Economists have long known that exporters tend to be more productive than companies that focus exclusively on the domestic market.If only because high-performing companies are likely to compete primarily internationally. But there are also some indications that once a company enters global markets, its productivity increases. For example, economists point to this effect for British manufacturing companies. Slovenia and some other developing countries show similar results. Harvard Economist Dani Rodrik argues that exports help companies understand what they are capable of.
If incentivizing companies to export can increase productivity, the US has a job. The domestic market of the country is so large that many companies did not consider entering the world markets at all.
Thus, increasing exports can help even a highly productive country like the United States. The same goes for Japan, which, despite its obvious export power, is actually a rather closed economy.
Currently, the United States is promoting exports through the Export-Import Bank, but this usually applies to large companies that are already competitive in world markets.The best approach would be to help companies start exporting by providing them with targeted loans, information on foreign markets, and assistance in doing overseas trade.
Although the boom in China is over, there are other scenarios where unilateral free trade may not be the best policy.