Do you wonder why on earth do you suffer from performance anxiety ? Why is so intense? How to get rid of performance anxiety ? How to get over stage fright? How to overcome sexual performance anxiety ? If you answered yes to any of the questions, this article is for you.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 What is performance anxiety?
- 3 Symptoms of performance anxiety
- 4 What causes performance anxiety?
- 5 Why my performance anxiety is so intense?
- 6 Common types of performance anxiety
- 7 Stage fright
- 8 Performance anxiety and stage fright personal story
- 9 How to get rid of performance anxiety? Remove the root cause
- 10 How to get rid of performance anxiety? Four helpful tips
- 11 How to get rid of performance anxiety? Experience relationship bliss
- 12 Resource to elevate beauty and love of your sexual relationships
- 13 Closing paragraph on performance anxiety
Is performance anxiety holding you back in one or more areas of your life? Is performance anxiety robbing you from zest for life? Do you wish you would have a magic wand that could vanish permanently your performance anxiety?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, I understand because I used to suffer from performance anxiety. It is painful.
Well, I have to say I do not know about a magic wand that instantaneously can vanish permanently your performance anxiety. However, I do know about a powerful toolkit that help you recover your strengths that make you fearless and therefore vanish your performance anxiety.
You absolutely and permanently can get rid of your performance anxiety, regardless of your specific type of performance anxiety.
You deserve to be free of performance anxiety. You deserve to be fearless. You deserve to enjoy your life with ease and joy. You deserve to be happy. You can do it.
What is performance anxiety?
Performance anxiety is a fight or flight reaction of our bodies because of fear and worry that we might not perform well enough.
When fear and anxiety gets triggered by the thought of having to perform or during the performance -paradoxically our ability to perform gets diminished or completely halted.
Our fears and anxiety about failing in our performance become a reality. For that reason performance anxiety is very debilitating. It often leads us to stop trying. Performance anxiety sabotage reaching our dreams and goals.
Performance anxiety results in lack of confidence and doubts about our capabilities to perform a certain action or activity and meet our own or other people’ standards.
This is applicable to any type of performance anxiety, whether is sexual performance anxiety or stage fright or any other type of performance anxiety.
Some of the common fears activated in performance anxiety are fear of being judged, fear of rejection, fear of failing, fear of punishment, fear of embarrassment etc.
Symptoms of performance anxiety
Performance anxiety is a flight or fight reaction to a scenario of engaging in doing some type of performance. Even the thought of performing and then worrying about being judged can trigger performance anxiety.
Performance anxiety may include one or more of the following body reactions or symptoms:
- Heart palpitations
- Chest tightening
- Shallow breathing
- Tensed muscles
- Losing voice
- Tight throat
- Mind going blank
- Blurry vision
Depending on the severity of our performance anxiety, it can result in a reaction as strong as if we were facing an imminent death. For example as strong as if a tiger were about to eat us.
What causes performance anxiety?
The causes of performance anxiety are fears that are activated in us as it relates to our performance. Therefore to learn the root cause of our performance anxiety is to discover the causes and origins of our fears associated to performing.
Performance is defined as the accomplishment of a task measured against societal standards.
Almost everybody have some type of performance anxiety to some degree. As babies we usually are not judge by our performance or lack of it. We are not judge for falling when learning to walk or for spilling food while eating. We are celebrated for just being regardless of our performance.
At some point in childhood, parents and teachers start to approve or disapprove of us, as a function of our performance. In some cases even punishment versus reward is applied, – depending of failing or succeeding to perform to expectations.
This is the way of raising and educating children, – that most society believes to be the optimal way. Most society does not recognize that the obsession with performance measurement of children, tweens and teens results in performance anxiety, as well as, lowers their self esteem and self-confidence.
In addition, most parents and teachers do not know how to convey consistently the message to children – that they are always valuable independent of any performance. Adults do not know how to celebrate children, tweens and teens for just being.
Human beings are born with different degrees of sensitivity or emotional reaction to judgment. An intense emotional reaction of anger, shame, guilt or any other negative emotions, results in traumas.
Therefore, judgment of a child performance can result in childhood traumas and is one of the causes of performance anxiety. This is a function of the child sensitivity and how the adult administers judgment of the child performance.
The causes of performance anxiety are performance-based fears that were programmed in your subconscious mind during traumatic events. In addition to childhood performance traumas, we also are programmed by ancestral traumas of failing to perform.
“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, every one will respect you” – Lao Tzu
Why my performance anxiety is so intense?
In our logical conscious thinking, we might say to ourselves. This does not make sense. Why do I have such a strong fear and anxiety reaction to the potential of making a mistake in my performance? Why do I fear so much being judged? I am not going to die, why do I react as if my life is in danger?
The reason your performance anxiety is so intense is because your subconscious has an association of performance being equal to danger. The fears of failing, of being judged, or being rejected can be as intense as fear of death.
Our history is full of scenarios where failing or succeeding in performance, was a matter of life and death. As a result, many ancestral traumas linked to performance were created.
For example, the gladiators were forced to fight for their lives in a display of stage performance. They were forced to kill the opponent or face death. Another example were the slaves for whom pleasing or unpleasing their owners with their performance, – was a matter of life versus death.
You might carry some ancestral performance trauma in your DNA, as well as some childhood performance traumas.
Common types of performance anxiety
Performance anxiety can be triggered by any activity or interaction, – when we perceive that we are being judge or that we will be judged. Some activities and scenarios that are common types of performance anxiety are:
Social anxiety is fear and anxiety of being negatively judged in any way, shape or form by others.
People with social anxiety believe that they have to perform perfectly in all their interactions with others to avoid judgment. They perceive all interactions as a performance where they have to be perfect, follow rules and fit in to be accepted.
Social anxiety is probably the most stressful and debilitating type of performance anxiety because of the wide spectrum of relationships and activities that are affected.
People with social performance anxiety are fearful to interact with new people. They avoid eye contact and they avoid social gatherings. They perceive, the one to one conversations as a performance where they will be judged.
Social anxiety prevents people from being authentic because they believe that they have to fit certain mold to avoid negative judgment.
Athletic performance anxiety
This is also a very common type of performance anxiety. Unfortunately the pressure and stress to perform well in sports, too often, starts in childhood.
Children are taught that their value is tied to competition and winning. Children self worth and self-esteem is crushed by the pressure of competition and winning. The fun, and play of team games is replaced by sports performance anxiety.
Parents sometimes try to impose on children a goal for them to become a start athlete. Parents can become obsessed with the idea of a child becoming a famous athlete.
Such a parent scolds his child for making mistakes in a game. Unknowingly such a parent instills athletic performance anxiety and lack of confidence in his child.
Underlying the athletic performance anxiety there are multiple fears such as: Fear of disappointing parents, coaches and team mates, fear of losing, fear of failure, fear of not belonging in the team, fear of rejection etc.
Academic performance anxiety
Often, the pressure to excel at school performance starts early in childhood. Well- meant parents over-emphasize the importance of excellent school grades. This is ok as long as parents convey and show to their children that they are always loved and always valued.
Children need to know that they are accepted, loved and valued independent of any performance outcome, – regardless of any results of their school performance.
Academic performance anxiety can hinder our ability to stay focused during exams. This is also called exam performance anxiety. It is an intense worry of what if I fail the exam. It can prevent us from a restful sleep the night before. Exam performance anxiety can be so intense – that our ability to recall the material we studied for the exam is diminished.
Typical fears underlying academic performance anxiety or exam performance anxiety are: Fear of not gaining admission to a high profile University, fear of disappointing parents, fear of failing in life, fear of accomplishing less than our friends or siblings etc.
Job performance anxiety
At our jobs our performance is being judged. Many corporations implement some kind of the performance review. Often employees are ranked based on the perception of their relative performance.
Comparison which is a self-esteem crusher that starts with the school grading system, – then is extended to our professional life. This is the vicious cycle of inferiority and superiority.
Job performance anxiety is the result of worries about potentially not getting a performance feedback that meet our expectations and expectations of our managers.
Underlying job performance anxiety are fears of failing in our career, fear of losing our job, fears of lack of money etc.
A sub-set of job performance anxiety is the interview performance anxiety. In this case, we are worried of not getting the job.
Sexual performance anxiety
Both men and women can suffer of sexual performance anxiety. It is triggered by the worries of not being able to satisfy their partners.
Underlying sexual performance anxiety are fears of rejection, fears of not being attractive, fears of failing in romantic relationships, fears of infidelity, fear of losing physical and emotional connection with their partners, fears of abandonment etc.
Sexual performance anxiety is more common for men than for women because of the physical evidence of erection or lack of it. In addition societal beliefs of masculinity and men’s worth are so tied into sexual performance and sexual stamina. This places a lot of pressure on men to perform sexually.
The paradox of sexual performance anxiety is that precisely the fear and anxiety of the potential of failing to perform in the sexual arena prevents the erection. For that reason even young men, in perfect physical health, can find themselves feeling impotent.
Women are not exempt from sexual performance anxiety. They often have worries and fears of not being attractive enough or sexy enough and losing their partners connection and love.
Performance anxiety with new partner
Performance anxiety with new partner is quite common. The solution is to develop an intimate emotional connection and a feeling of love and understanding for each other, before moving to sex.
When you first build an intimate emotional connection and you feel safe and loved in the relationship, then you can relax and enjoy the intimate physical connection with your partner.
You might be thinking that nowadays, most potential romantic partners are not willing to postpone sex while building an intimate emotional connection.
Well, it is a matter of raising the bar for your romantic partners. If they are not willing, are they worthy of you? In my opinion, they are not. Of course, that is for you to answer and decide.
If you feel you have to lower the bar because you worry about staying alone. Then, you will benefit in upgrading any limiting beliefs about the lack of loving potential romantic partners available for you.
If you believe that there is an abundance of loving and supporting potential romantic partners available for you, you will attract them. That is how Law of Attraction for love works.
You have plenty of loving potential romantic partners to choose from. When you truly believe that, you will be less prone to be triggered by sexual performance anxiety. This is because you will be less prone of fear of rejection or fear of judgment of your performance or fear of staying alone.
When there is a soul-to-soul intimate emotional connection, there is no room for performance anxiety. There is no room for fear or anxiety about potentially being judged or rejected based on your sexual performance.
Dating performance anxiety
Dating performance anxiety is the result of worries about potential rejection in any phase of dating.
Dating performance anxiety can prevent us from approaching someone who we are attracted to. Then, if we manage to meet someone and set up a date, dating performance anxiety can prevent us from being ourselves.
When we suffer from dating performance anxiety we have fears of being seen, fears of being vulnerable, fears of not being attractive, fears of rejection etc.
Public speaking performance anxiety
This is a very common type of performance anxiety or stage fright. A high percentage of people have some degree of public speaking performance anxiety.
There are variables in the public speaking arena such as size of the audience and who are in the audience. The thresholds of trigger for public speaking performance anxiety are different among people.
You might be confident speaking to a group of seven people, – while you feel anxiety to deliver the same speech to an audience of one hundred people.
Stage fright is performance anxiety triggered prior or during any performance delivered in a stage to an audience of any size. In a stage you are the center of attention of the audience, you are either delivering a message or entertaining the audience.
We already covered public speaking performance anxiety and the same applies to any other stage performance such as: Playing a musical instrument, singing, dancing, acting etc.
The biggest fears in stage performance anxiety are the fears of making mistakes, fears of forgetting any part of our act, fears of the consequences in our careers, fears of being judged etc.
Almost everybody feels some degree of nervousness, anxiety and fear prior and during a performance in front of an audience.
Stage fright is programmed in our DNA and subconscious. Nowadays the consequences of making mistakes on stage are minor. By minor I mean that the consequences are not life threatening. Then why do we are so fearful of making mistakes?
We are fearful because we perceive the consequences of delivering an “imperfect” performance to be catastrophic. Of course perfect versus imperfect is a subjective opinion dependent of each individual perception.
The perception of making mistakes during our performance having catastrophic consequences is caused by traumas.
We fear so much making a mistake when most people in the audience do not even notice. However we do notice our mistakes during our performance and get our stage fright ramped up. One of more of the stage fright symptoms arises. This is very debilitating and can sabotage and halt our performance.
Stage fright symptoms
The stage fright symptoms are the same as those listed in the section of this article sub-titled: Performance anxiety symptoms.
The most severe stage fright symptoms are mind going blank, losing our voice and freeze response because they completely halt our performance.
Types of stage fright
There are two types of stage fright that are correlated with the sequence of a performance. First you perform for an audience, afterwards you receive a feedback from the audience.
The first type of stage fright is related to fears of not being able to perform adequately. This includes fears of making mistakes during the performance, fears of forgetting how to perform, fears of the debilitating effects of stage fright in our performance etc.
The second type of stage fright is related to fears of not being accepted and valued for your performance – and therefore failing to achieve your goal. Some examples are: Failing to get an acting role, failing to win a stage competition, failing to get clients through your speech etc.
In some cases, these two stages of performance can overlap. For example, the audience might start applauding you anytime during your performance. Or judges might show in their facial expression that they are pleased with your performance.
You might have both types of stage fright. Alternatively, you might have confidence in your capability to deliver your performance but you have fears of not being valued.
Causes of stage fright
The causes of stage fright are:
- Lack of confidence due to lack of skills or being unprepared
- Traumatic life events related to performing to an audience that have programmed your subconscious with fears of negative and even catastrophic consequences of failing to perform to expectations.
If you take the time to prepare for stage performances and you still suffer from debilitating fears related to performing to an audience, then you hold some traumas.
For more information about childhood traumas and ancestral traumas causing stage fright and performance anxiety in general go to: What causes performance anxiety? Why is my performance anxiety so intense?
Ask yourself: What is the absolutely worst scenario outcome of my performance? Am I going to die if the worst scenario takes place?
The answer is no. Nowadays nobody life is taken away for failing to perform to expectations. That was the case for gladiators in ancient times. Not anymore, you are safe regardless of the outcome of your performance.
Affirming to yourself that you are safe performing to an audience, as you breathe in deeply, can help you to some extent to overcome stage fright. However, you probably might need a deeper process to repair core fractures caused by traumas and transmute the fears causing your stage fright.
“You were born with greatness. You were born with wings. You are not meant for crawling, so don’t. You have wings. Learn to use them and fly.” – Rumi
Performance anxiety and stage fright personal story
I share my story to serve as example of how performance anxiety, stage fright, lack of confidence and low self esteem is created and re-enforced through traumatic events in our life. You have your own stories that have influenced your self-esteem, confidence and might have created your performance anxiety.
I struggled with performance anxiety, stage fright, lack of confidence and low self esteem for decades. I believe I was already born with some degree of lack of self worth which made me vulnerable to others people opinions.
My down spiral into performance anxiety, lack of confidence and shyness started in first grade when I was 6 years old.
My first grade traumatic seed event of performance anxiety
In first grade, the teacher desk was placed on a platform just a few inches above the elevation of the floor where the students’ desks were. This platform was like a stage; I guess for my subconscious was a performance stage.
One day in class, the teacher asked me to come up to the stage and give a presentation of the content of one of the chapters of our science book. I have studied the content and I knew the material. I was a bit nervous because I knew that my performance would affect my school grades.
I went up the classroom stage and delivered my oral presentation about the subject the teacher asked me. As you can image it was a short chapter, after all it was first grade.
As I was delivering my presentation I noticed that my teacher was giggling. That made me feel even more nervous. When I finished the teacher made a remark about my pronunciation that trigger some laugher in the classroom.
Suddenly I was blushing, I felt utterly embarrassed and inadequate. I felt shame of who I am. I felt inferior to other classmates that have received praise from the teacher for their presentations. I felt something is terribly wrong with me.
Due to my sensitivity to others people opinions, the classroom laughing at me and the teacher’s remark about my pronunciation triggered me with intense toxic emotions that made this event traumatic.
I also uploaded to my field and subconscious, fears and limiting beliefs that tanked my self worth and confidence.
This seemingly mild event created for me performance anxiety along with fears that tremendously undermined my professional career. I became fearful of authority figures and public speaking.
I became fearful of raising my hand to ask a question in classroom. I would force myself to raise my hand to answer questions in the classroom – because excellent grades were a value that my father instilled in me.
Each time I spoke up, my heart raced and blood rushed to my face. I wished so many times my skin would be darker so blushing would not be so apparent. This became an unwanted repeating pattern that not only manifested in classroom at school, but also for decades in professional meetings at work.
Public speaking performance anxiety, stage performance anxiety became an unwanted repeating pattern that was triggered many times, even with small audiences.
I am going to share two of the most intense repetition of my pattern of performance anxiety
I am going to share two more events that followed the original 1st grade traumatic event.
My 4th grade traumatic event of performance anxiety or stage fright
Since I was very good at memorizing and reciting long poems, the teacher thought I would be good at playing a leading role in a play.
I memorized the lines and the recitals went very well. The day of presenting the play to the entire school and parents, performance anxiety overcame on me at the middle of the play.
When it came to the segment of the play when I was supposed to play being in love and to throw some kisses, I had the following thoughts: This is ridiculous, this is embarrassing, I look stupid, this scene is stupid, people are going to laugh at me etc.
Suddenly my heart was racing, I was blushing, I forgot the lines and I froze. I stood there paralyzed by fear for a few minutes, while the teacher from behind the curtains was giving me the next lines. This is a typical example of stage fright.
When I came out of my shock, I just walked out the stage. Toxic emotions of shame, and regret of letting down my teacher and classmates flooded my body.
My traumatic event at work re-enforcing performance anxiety
When I finished my University studies, I went to work for a corporation. My performance anxiety to speak up in meetings where authority figures were present was very debilitating for me.
I was searching for solutions and reading books about how to get rid of performance anxiety and become confident. The usual recommendations of the books were:
- Face your fears and do it anyway
- Become confident through repetition and practice
- Practice your presentation many times; be prepared
I did apply those recommendations. I would volunteer to make presentations. Then I would practice the presentation out load at home again and again. I managed the presentations this way, – but I would still feel the performance anxiety sticking out its head.
The worst part was when blushing was triggered. I would feel the heat in my face and the thought that my red face was visible would through me into shame. I could manage my heart racing but blushing was too much, no control whatsoever.
I have to say that repetition and practice were helpful to some extent. There were periods when I did presentations regularly to the same group of managers and my comfort and confidence improved in that setting. Unfortunately for me, these were temporary gains in confidence as later I would slide down again.
The worst set back and most traumatic event in my professional life that re-enforced and deepened my performance anxiety occurred during my 9th year of professional work.
I was asked to present to a group of managers on a subject I was familiar and comfortable with. It did not seem to be a big deal. I had already presented in front of hundreds of people. This occasion was just a small group of managers.
Somewhere in the middle of the presentation, one of the managers made a remark that I interpreted as a critic or judgment. At that moment, performance anxiety or stage fright overcame on me: Heart race, blushing and losing my voice.
The performance anxiety or stage fright was so intense that I my lost my voice. I tried to speak and I could not say a word. I was utterly embarrassed. I was unable to finish the presentation. It was a nightmare.
I went to the bathroom and I cried. Fortunately, later in the day, I recovered my voice but my field had been fractured by this trauma that magnified and re-enforced public speaking performance anxiety.
The similarity with my 1st grade traumatic event is that an authority figure made a critical remark about my presentation, in front of a group of people.
How to get rid of performance anxiety? Remove the root cause
The key to get rid of performance anxiety is to remove fear from your subconscious mind.
Deep-seated fears in your subconscious mind are the root cause of all types of performance anxiety, – from stage fright to sexual performance anxiety. As well as sports performance anxiety, academic performance anxiety, job performance anxiety, music performance anxiety and any other activity that we perceive to be a performance judged by others.
To get rid of performance anxiety, you need to get rid of the fears that trigger the physiological responses of anxiety. Fears can be triggered by the thoughts of worrying about unwanted consequences of performance’s failure or mistakes.
Fears can also be triggered by a sensory input related to the performance. For example: The sight of the audience, the sight of somebody who subconsciously reminds you someone who judged you harshly etc.
To get rid of performance anxieties seek out a tool or process that gets rid of fears from its roots by repairing core fractures and turning on your strengths. .
In my experience, the most effective process to get rid of fears that cause performance anxiety is the toolkit of Repairing Core Fractures. The customized codes of this program make it a very effective tool.
You might not be aware of the events that traumatized you, fractured your field and uploaded fears to your subconscious – because they might be ancestral traumas. In addition, sometimes we do not remember traumas from childhood because we blocked them out to avoid pain.
To use the Repairing Core Fractures technique to get rid of fear and therefore get rid of performance anxiety, you do not need to remember or know the traumatic events that caused them.
How to get rid of performance anxiety? Four helpful tips
Get rid of lack of confidence
Become confident and comfortable with the activity and circumstances of your performance. To gain confidence and get rid of performance anxiety, you can use the following techniques:
- Twelve (12) steps visualization technique to become confident
- Eight (8) steps anchoring technique for confidence
Build your self-esteem
Performance anxiety and stage fright are closely linked to low self-esteem. When you have a high self-esteem, you are never affected by any negative judgment or feedback about your performance.
High self-esteem means that your self-worth is unshakeable. Self-worth is not from a place of ego superiority; it is from a place of inner knowing of your value that is independent of any performance.
If you have an innate self-worth you do not depend on any results of your performances to feel valuable and good about yourself.
When you have a high self-esteem, you are at ease making mistakes and you perceive failures as learning opportunities.
Therefore to get rid of performance anxiety whatever type of performance anxiety you suffer from, – work on building your self-esteem. You might like to check out: How to build self esteem?
Release attachment to results
Live life free from attachment to results of your performances. Whatever the performance might be for you; whether is sexual performance, stage performance or job performance, do your best while releasing all expectations.
Detach your self-esteem and happiness from any results of your performances. Winning versus losing, succeeding versus failing are faces of the same of coin. The coin is life with its ups and downs. Enjoy the rides of life and stay centered in your inner self-worth.
Practice mind-body techniques
Practice at least one mind-body technique to cultivate calmness, relaxation and being present in the moment of now.
Mind-body techniques help you to reduce performance anxiety and stage fright. Examples of some mind-body techniques are:
How to get rid of performance anxiety? Experience relationship bliss
The recommendations given in the previous sections of how to get rid of performance anxiety, – are also applicable to overcoming sexual performance anxiety.
Removing fears from your subconscious mind is key to overcome sexual performance anxiety. You might have uploaded fears related to sexual performance in your subconscious during some events. Some examples of events that can cause fractures and therefore upload fears are:
A teenager boy is recipient of a joke about the size of his sexual organ made by his sports mates in the men’s changing room. He then becomes fearful of being sexually inadequate and develops sexual performance anxiety.
A negative feedback or judgment by a romantic partner of your sexual performance or body can upload or re-enforce fears related to not being good enough in the area of sexual performance.
It must be mentioned that not all negative feedback will create or amplify fears about sexual performance; this depends on the sensitivity of the recipient and how the feedback is given.
To get rid of performance anxiety and become fearless in your sex life use a tool to get rid of the underlying fears. A very effective toolkit to transmute fears and turn on your strengths is Repairing Core Fractures. This toolkit is life changing not only for your sex life but also for any other area of your life that you like to improve.
In addition to get rid of fears, which is foundational to get rid of performance anxiety, take your romantic relationships to high levels of beauty, bliss and love. For that purpose, deepen your emotional connection with your romantic partner.
Develop intimate emotional connection with your partner
This is about emotional intelligence and your ability to be aware of your emotions and feelings. It starts with self-awareness, you need to recognize and accept your emotions.
The recognition of emotions is not about labeling, it is more about recognition of the associated feelings and sensations in your body.
The acceptance of emotions means to allow the associated feelings and sensations to run through your body until they subside. Do not resist or run away from your emotions even when they are unpleasant.
Once you have developed an intimate emotional connection with yourself, you are ready to extend it to your partner. Show your love to your partner by caring and being empathetic of your partner’s emotions and feelings.
Use these questions daily: What am I feeling? What are you feeling? How does this make me feel? How does this make you feel?
Resource to elevate beauty and love of your sexual relationships
If you like an advance course in intimate relationships, I recommend Hidden Keys to Loving Relationships by Kasey, Brad and Julius.
The depths of this teaching will surprise you and provide you with guidance to reach higher levels of love, intimacy, bliss and beauty with your romantic partner.
Check out the detailed description of the extensive and extraordinary content of this course: Hidden Keys to Loving Relationships
Closing paragraph on performance anxiety
Regardless of the type of performance anxiety you are presently living with – and regardless of the intensity of your performance anxiety, you can free yourself from it. You can become confident and fearless in your performance. You can enjoy your life in all areas. May you live a happy and fulfilling life.