Performance anxiety

Jul 05, 2023

Understanding Performance Anxiety

Performance anxiety, also known as stage fright, is a common phenomenon that affects a significant number of people. It is characterized by intense fear and anxiety that can interfere with your ability to perform well in situations such as public speaking, performing arts, sports, or even in the workplace. It's not just about feeling nervous; it's about experiencing physical symptoms such as a pounding heart, dry mouth, shaky voice, and trembling hands or knees.

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Causes of Performance Anxiety

The root cause of performance anxiety is fear of public humiliation, negative judgment, or failure. This fear can be triggered by various factors, such as lack of preparation, low self-esteem, negative past experiences, or high expectations from oneself or others. It's important to understand that it's not the performance itself that triggers the anxiety, but rather the fear of a poor performance.

Effects of Performance Anxiety

Performance anxiety can have a significant impact on both your physical and mental health. Physically, it can cause symptoms such as nausea, rapid heartbeat, trembling, and even panic attacks. Mentally, it can lead to negative thoughts, difficulty concentrating, and feelings of dread. In the long run, if left untreated, performance anxiety can lead to serious health problems such as chronic stress, depression, and anxiety disorders.

effects anxiety

Managing Performance Anxiety

Preparation and Practice

One of the most effective ways to manage performance anxiety is through preparation and practice. The more familiar you are with what you are going to do, the less anxiety you will feel. This includes not only practicing your performance, but also preparing mentally by visualizing your performance, focusing on your breathing, and using positive affirmations.

Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and yoga can help reduce the physical symptoms of performance anxiety. These techniques can help calm your body and mind, allowing you to focus on your performance rather than your anxiety.

relaxation techniques

Professional Help

If performance anxiety is severely affecting your life, it may be beneficial to seek professional help. Therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help you understand and change thought patterns that lead to anxiety. Medications may also be prescribed in some cases.


Performance anxiety is a common but manageable issue. With the right techniques and help, you can overcome your fear and perform to the best of your ability. Remember, it's perfectly okay to seek help and take steps towards overcoming your anxiety. You're not alone in this journey, and there are resources available to help you.