How To Deal With Performance Anxiety

learn how to deal with performance anxietyIf you’ve seen the new movie The Revenant, you witnessed the horrific conditions Leonardo DiCaprio had to endure while filming…

From sleeping in an animal carcass to eating raw bison liver and swimming in freezing rivers.

I am sure it certainly wasn’t pleasant, but to be believable in the role, he had to accept those conditions to fully immerse himself in the character.

He had to change his attitude about what he would or would not do.

Consider that you too can change your attitude toward unpleasant situations, just like Leonardo did with the difficult conditions.

Here is how you do it…

NAME YOUR FEAR TO TAME YOUR FEAR

Here is the process to handle difficult emotions:

Step 1: Notice

Paying attention is the first step to unhook from your thoughts which create your feelings. 

So when fear shows up in your body, you will notice the sensations in creates.

Step 2: Acknowledge

how do you get rid of fearInstead of trying to distract yourself, you actually acknowledge what you are feeling like, “I’m noticing fear” or “Here’s fear.”

Speaking of fear this way, “Im noticing or Here’s a feeling of” will separate you from the feeling of “I’m scared.”

It helps you remember you are not your feelings – they just continuously pass through you but don’t need to define who you are or what you do.

Step 3: Breath Creates Space

Just breath into the feeling, which opens you up and signals to the body you are letting go of the struggle.

The fear is still present, the giving it space will cause it to have less of an impact and influence on us.

Step 4: Get Present

Having created the space, now you have to reengage with the world again by focusing on your 5 senses.

TROUBLESHOOTING

If you have never allowed yourself to fully feel your feelings, you will probably find this very difficult at first.

But like any new skill it just requires practice, probably several times a day any place and anywhere: on the sports field, in a meeting, during an argument or in the shower.

Here are some possible stumbling blocks to be aware of:

Hidden Agenda

overcoming performance fearsIf you are hoping this will get rid of your fear, then you are in avoidance mode which I am sure by now you know will not work.

We are primed for fear all the way back from caveman times when facing a challenge so trying to get rid of it just magnifies it.

Illusion Of Control

Many times when you use this technique, the fear will disappear or be greatly reduced.

If you use it to avoid the fear, then you are back in avoidance mode.

It’s fine to enjoy it, but don’t expect it.

If you do, you’ll eventually be disappointed.

Getting Hooked

It is easy to get hooked by thoughts like, “I can’t do this” or “It’s too hard” or “I hate this feeling – I just want to get rid of it.”

You can’t stop those thoughts. 

Expect them, but just let them pass like leaves on a stream.

Tolerance

how to deal with performance anxietyYou may think this is about putting up with or tolerating your fear or even resigning yourself to it.

That is not it at all.

This process is about allowing your fear, but it does not mean you like it or want it. 

It simply means you are willing to give it space and allow it to be there.

AVOIDANCE DIAL

Imagine you had an avoidance dial in your mind that goes from 0 – 10.

getting rid of performance anxiety10 is total avoidance – you do whatever you can to avoid the feeling or get out of it.

0 is acceptance –  you don’t like it, but you put no effort into trying to get rid of it.

5 is tolerance – you are moving toward acceptance, but not quite there yet.

Fully accepting a feeling and dropping the struggle is very different than putting up with it.

FORGETTING THE REASON

We allow our feelings so we can fully live a meaningful and rich life.

To do so, you will have to step out of your comfort zone and when you do, you will feel fear.

Click the graphic below to learn how to feel the fear without struggling against it, so you can put your time and energy into going after the life you truly want.

Clarity Session with Wendy Lynne, Life Coach