If you’ve ever been anxious before going on a stage, running a race, or in bed with your spouse, you’ve experienced performance anxiety. In my last post, I explained some reasons for performance anxiety, and how it can affect your emotional and physical health.
Here are some tips to help you self-manage your stress and decrease your performance anxiety.
- Incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily life. Meditation, creative visualization, yoga, and chi gong are all strategies that teach you how to manage your stress level and anxiety.
- Work on positive self-talk. Everyone has within them a critical inner voice. And, whether you are a male or female, you have within you the capacity to deliberately override that negative chatter. When destructive language arises, talk back to it in a positive way. Behavior modification can help you confront your inner voice by identifying its source, and reflecting upon how it affects your sense of self. Remind yourself that critical thoughts come from your childhood, your insecurities, and lack of self-esteem. Treat yourself as your own best friend, mirroring back to yourself who you are today, in relation to the challenges you faced as a child.
- Practice. Practice and rehearse positive conversational dialog. Through authentic inner dialog you not only validate yourself and your abilities, but also, your own inner value.
- Begin writing in a journal. Write down your feelings without self-editing. By looking at your feelings in black and white, you will automatically lower the decibels of tension. Similarly, by focusing in a positive way on your feelings, you can have empathy and compassion for yourself.
- Know your history. Performance anxiety is not an equal opportunity problem. If you have had poor bonding in early childhood or trauma – including parental divorce, a bad experience while performing, or have self-esteem issues – you will be more prone to a heightened state of anxiety when stressed. The fear of being judged, criticized, or scrutinized, can be extremely painful to an insecure person. By knowing your history, you can make the decision to seek professional help if needed, as well as choose the appropriate stress-reduction techniques for your particular situation.
- Practice techniques that help you de-stress sexually. In reality, making a new sexual habit is no different than potty-training, where you learn to stop and start on command. By teaching your body to respond to deliberate cues, you will gain confidence and competence. These include honestly communicating to your partner about both your fear and anxiety. This gives you a chance to work with your partner, and opens the door to ever deeper trust, intimacy and connection. Just the simple act of communicating your fears to your partner will immediately reduce sexual stress. Once liberated, you can work together to discover ways to enhance your sexual experience. By taking control of your dysfunctional orgasm, premature ejaculation, or inability to orgasm, through the construction of new habits, behavior modification, therapy, medication when needed, increased foreplay, and relaxation strategies before, during and after sex, you’ll find that stress reduction is liberating. Using strategies, such as creative visualization, imagining a successful sexual experience, or simply practicing, which can be a lot of fun, you will find that you and your partner can experience new ways to express yourself intimately, leading to trust, and a deepening fulfillment in each other’s arms.
In the final analysis, you can cure performance anxiety. At the end of the day, the journey through life is your journey and it really is all about you. So take the time to learn how to relax and thus, self-manage your stress, and you will conquer your fear of performing in front of others.