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The Performance Anxiety Struggle: Can Therapy Actually Help?

performance anxiety
performance anxiety can be soul-crushing; don't let it dictate your life.

Let's dive straight into it – performance anxiety can be the unwelcome guest that crashes your moment in the spotlight. Whether you're facing a high-stakes presentation, audition, or exam, it can feel like a surge of anxiety that completely throws you off guard. It's a common experience, and it's important to recognize when severe anxiety becomes a hurdle in your life.

Understanding the Mental Health Balancing Act

Performance anxiety is more than just those typical pre-event jitters. It's the kind of anxiety that can feel like a severe panic attack, with an overwhelming feeling of anxiety taking over your thoughts and emotions. And while a bit of nervousness can be normal, it's crucial to distinguish when it becomes a problem.

When Anxiety Takes Over: Signs of Stress and Anxiety

Recognizing the signs of stress and anxiety is vital. If it's keeping you up at night, making you avoid opportunities, or triggering severe anxiety-like panic attacks, it's time to take a closer look. Performance anxiety often manifests through a range of emotional and physical indicators. It's essential to recognize these signs early to address them effectively. Here are some common signs:

Signs of Performance Anxiety:

  • Excessive Nervousness: Feeling extremely jittery, restless, or on edge before a performance.

  • Racing Heart: Notable pounding heart or palpitations associated with stress.

  • Sweating Profusely: Overactive sweat glands causing damp palms, forehead, or even excessive perspiration.

  • Trouble Breathing: Shallow or irregular breathing, sometimes leading to shortness of breath.

  • Mental Fog: Difficulty concentrating, racing thoughts, or a blank mind that makes it hard to focus.

  • Negative Self-Talk: A barrage of self-criticism, self-doubt, and persistent negative thoughts.

  • Physical Tension: Muscular tension, trembling, or feeling physically rigid.

  • Upset Stomach: Nausea, stomach cramps, or digestive discomfort.

  • Avoidance Behavior: Trying to dodge or escape situations that trigger anxiety.

  • Panic Attacks: Sudden and intense surges of fear, often accompanied by a feeling of impending doom.

Recognizing these signs is the first step in addressing performance anxiety effectively. If you find yourself experiencing these symptoms regularly and they interfere with your life or well-being, it may be time to consider professional guidance through therapy, which can make a significant difference in managing and overcoming performance anxiety.

The Therapy Solution for Severe Anxiety

Now, here's the game-changer – therapy can be a toolkit for tackling recurrent or worsening performance anxiety head-on. It's not about endless sessions; it's about practical strategies and real-world tools to help you regain your well-being:

  • Cracking the Anxiety Code: Therapy can help you can uncover possible underlying causes of your anxiety, giving you an idea of how to move forward.

  • Upgrading Your Mental Game: Therapy can aid in reshaping negative self-talk into empowering thoughts that can enhance your performance.

  • Facing Your Fears: Exposure therapy can gradually introduces you to anxiety-inducing situations, allowing you to build mental resilience over time.

  • Stay Zen in Chaos: Therapists can equip you with practical relaxation and mindfulness techniques to maintain composure under pressure.

Taking Control of Your Performance Anxiety

Performance anxiety is a common experience for many individuals, yet it can become problematic if it begins to inhibit your life or harm your well-being. Performance anxiety is a shared experience, but it doesn't have to dictate your life. If you find yourself nodding along, it might be time to consider therapy.

The next time you're on the brink of an overwhelming or nerve-wracking moment, remember that there are ways to better manage these uncomfortable feelings. With the right guidance and support, you can become more comfortable with confronting intimidating situations head-on and address them with more confidence.

Interested in exploring therapy for managing anxiety? Reach out to PSYCHē for more information, learn more about our expert therapists, or book a consultation online today.

We also offer multiple DBT Skills Groups as well as an RO-DBT Skills Group. Groups are like a class, not therapy. Click the link to enroll in a group today.


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