9 Tips For Managing Performance Anxiety

Eileen Bailey Apr 19th, 2013 (updated Oct 16th, 2013)
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Many of us get nervous when having to talk in front of a group, take an important test, perform on stage or participate in athletic events. For some, though, performance anxiety can stop them from participating in activities they enjoy, getting a job they want or getting a promotion. Self-esteem and confidence can suffer. The following are some tips to help manage performance anxiety.

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Look at the advantages
Look at the advantages

Use your nervous energy to help prepare for the event. Many athletes and performers will go through a ritual, such as stretching, meditation, taking a walk or listening to music.

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Be prepared
Be prepared

Whatever you are doing, practice and prepare to help you feel more confident in your abilities.

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Eat
Eat

Have a meal with complex carbohydrates (whole-grain bread or pasta) a few hours before the event to make sure you don’t get hungry but still have energy.

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Think positively
Think positively

Visualize your performance going perfectly. Don’t focus on everything that could go wrong, instead imagine it going exactly as planned.

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Breathe
Breathe

Take a few minutes to do deep breathing. Check out the proper way to do deep breathing exercises to help you relax.

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Review your expectations
Review your expectations

If you worry about being “prefect” you will no doubt let yourself down. Are you expecting too much of yourself? Do you find it difficult if you make a mistake? Make your expectations more realistic and instead of trying to meet a goal, remind yourself the performing to the very best of your ability is what is important.

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Accept that the unexpected often happens
Accept that the unexpected often happens

When something goes awry, it can throw your entire performance off, but if you are prepared for preparing for different scenarios. Remind yourself that you have handled it when the unexpected happened before and you can again.

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Smile
Smile

When you find yourself ruminating with negative thoughts–smile. Even if a smile is forced it can help change your attitude and outlook.

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Focus on the present
Focus on the present

Remember that your performance isn’t only about the final outcome but about the performance itself. Once you have completed your performance, take time to review, and note what you did right. If there were certain things that went wrong, review what you might have done to handle them differently. But then let errors go, knowing that next time you can use the information to do even better.