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What is Performance Anxiety?

What is Performance Anxiety?

“I’ve never been afraid of big moments. I get butterflies.. I get nervous and anxious, but I think those are all good signs that I’m ready for the moment.” –Stephen Curry

Most people think of anxiety as something that happens automatically in response to a stressful event or in anticipation of something bad happening – what’s called “future-oriented worry.” That might be true, but what feels like anxiety to you is simply a response to the actual physical manifestations of biological arousal or activation (flight or fight). When your body senses a potential threat (a performance) it goes into what is called physiological arousal. How you respond physically and mentally to that condition of physiological arousal determines how “anxious” or stressed you ultimately feel. At SportStrata we don’t believe in “anxious performers” just performers experience stress…. And that is most performers, no matter how experienced.

In order to have an adaptive response, to control our overall level of anxiety, we prepare before the situation even arises. We tend to ignore our mental responses to physiological arousal because we associate them with fear. The more you train to react with an adaptive mental response to performance challenges, the more your talent can show itself. With elegant performance psychology techniques of breathing training, self-talk, centering and imagery you can get past any performance stress and perform at your best.

Hannah Thurley