Anxiety is the feeling of nervousness or unease, which can be mild or severe. People may experience anxiety at various points in their lives. Performance anxiety is an intense fear of performing well when under pressure. People may experience performance anxiety at important events, such as sporting events or weddings.
Types of performance anxiety include:
It is normal to feel nervous or afraid when in the limelight. However, if the fear is so intense that it results in a panic attack, it may signify glossophobia. Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking and a constant feature in social anxiety disorder or social phobia.
Athletic Performance Anxiety (APA)
Sportsmen and women may experience APA at important sporting events, which results in their inability to perform to their usual standard or expectations.
Worrying and feeling a butterfly in the stomach before an examination is natural. However, people with intense examination anxiety may experience panic attacks and memory lapses before or during the test.
Feeling jittery before a job or a scholarship interview is normal. Yet, similar to examination anxiety, people who experience intense performance anxiety feel overwhelmed, resulting in loss of words and extreme nervousness. Some people may even experience interview anxiety before their first date or a meeting with that prospective in-laws.
People with excessive performance anxiety may experience panic attacks leading to memory lapse, difficulty paying attention, procrastination, and inability to perform. Physical symptoms of performance anxiety also include:
Having sweaty palms.
An increased heart rate.
Nausea or dizziness.
Trembling and chest pains.
Techniques for managing performance anxiety include deep breathing techniques, using the five senses and journaling. Counselling and psychotherapy are the most effective ways to treat performance anxiety. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and brainspotting have effectively reduced stress and enhanced performance by healing the core memories that cause anxiety. At the same time, counselling help to identify triggers and manage the symptoms.
Restoring Peace Counselling and Consultancy offers counselling and psychotherapy services for individuals with performance anxiety, trauma and other psychological challenges. For more information, please visit www.restoringpeace.com.sg or WhatsApp at +65 8889 1848.
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