Using Your Thoughts To Diminish Performance Anxiety

Negative thinking has plagued my past.

"How could I have blown it?"

"What is wrong with me?"

"I can't believe this happened again"

These thoughts in turn created negative emotions, like despair, sadness, anger and anxiety. My bout with performance anxiety started when I began habitually thinking thoughts like the ones above. These negative emotions then solidified my belief that I had something wrong with me, and this belief prevented me from making any positive improvements with my anxiety. Without realizing it, I had subjected myself to one heck of a vicious cycle.

Does this sound familiar? Many people cause their own performance anxiety without even realizing it. However it is possible to stop this vicious cycle dead in its tracks. Learning how to stop thinking the destructive thoughts is key to overcmoing performance anxiety.

Next time you encounter a situation that typically spurs negative thinking and emotions, make a conscious effort to control your thoughts. Instead of thinking, "What's wrong with me?" make a conscious effort to guide your thoughts in a more positive direction.

By thinking a thought like, "I expected this to still occur from time to time; at least I now understand why this happened," you will have stopped the vicious cycle dead in its tracks. This improves your likelihood of diminishing performance anxiety.

At this moment you will be tempted to fall back into your old habits of negative thinking. Controlling your thoughts is not always easy, especially immediately after a bad, anxiety provoking experience. However you need to stop the vicious cycle in order to begin making improvements. Instead of beating yourself up and succumbing to the negative emotions, stop the vicious cycle by guiding your thoughts in a more positive direction.

Remember that negative emotions are only indicators that your thinking is out-of-whack. In other words, a negative emotion of performance anxiety or fear is your body's way of telling you that you are thinking negative and damaging thoughts.

Understand what your body is trying to tell you. Listen to your body. React to the negative emotion by guiding your thoughts in a more positive direction. At this very moment, if you gradually guide your thoughts in a slightly more positive direction, you will notice and feel a small sensation of relief. Remember that it is unrealistic to expect to feel wonderful at this instant, but very realistic to feel just slightly better and less anxious.

Remember that small, gradual improvements in thought and small, natural feelings of relief is all that is possible in this moment. Do not think "I am a failure." Instead think something like:"I understand that I can't always be perfect at everything."

Or, "I can't expect to be perfect, especially as I am just learning how to control my thoughts."

And even, "I am glad that I am taking steps in the right direction."

Relish in the feeling of relief and diminished anxiety you experience after thinking thoughts like the ones above.

That is all you need to do for now. Relax and understand that this is all part of the journey to becoming more content and happier with yourself and your life. Overcome your performance anxiety one thought and one step at a time.

Ryan Collins writes and blogs about anxiety at his website, and also coaches people on how to naturally overcome performance anxiety.

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