Dealing with Performance Anxiety at Work

Performance anxiety can be defined as an individual’s apprehension of failing to carry out a specific action before it has even began.  This can affect the quality of our output, our reputation and professional relationships. It may seem like the end of the word if an employee has committed a professional anxious blunder or cause repetitive stress before a meeting or presentation, however through effective strategies it can be managed and eventually eliminated.

One of the ways anxiety and stress increases before one’s time to shine is over-analysing potentially unsuccessful future scenarios. This subsequently limits one’s ability to focus on what is necessary and reduces over-all confidence. Instead, this time can be utilised in laying the groundwork for the event through practice and preparation. Practice is scientifically proven to reduce nervousness, so much so that professional athletes use this method to get rid of their jitters. Likewise, letting out steam through physical exercise beforehand can serve the same purpose.

In the event of negative thoughts, psychologists suggest turning every negative thought into a positive one. It is extremely difficult for the brain to process self-criticism and come up with innovative solutions at the same time. Since self-criticism boosts the fight-or-flight syndrome, it usually takes precedence over coming up with creative ideas. In addition to this, calming techniques that work individually for you such as breathing exercises, mental games, affirmations, meditation, or yoga can help get rid of nervous energy. With time and recurring undertaking of these actions, the brain will internalise them with calming down and help in reducing anxiousness.

However, it is important to understand that a healthy amount of anxiety can be good. There is little difference between how the brain processes anxiety and excitement. Convincing yourself that you are excited, and not apprehensive can improve your level of confidence and make you look forward to the event to prove yourself rather than a dreaded imminent predicament.

Virtually every person has committed an anxious blunder when stressed, so it is necessary to remember that failures will be observed with less harshness than one would expect. Therefore, speaking to a trusted colleague or an employee well-being coordinator before can be extremely reassuring and informative. The combination of all these techniques will help in curbing performance anxiety at work and prepare individuals for any stressful event in the future.

References:

  1. 3 Healthy Tips For Coping With Workplace Anxiety, December 12, 2019, Forbes.
  2. Performance anxiety at work is good: It helps you focus and remain motivated, April 18, 2018, EconomicTimes.