Choking under pressure is a common response whether you’re playing the lead in the third grade Christmas play or giving an important business presentation. Unfortunately, about 90% of people handle stressful situations poorly.
A recent experiment shows that getting excited works better than trying to calm down. During a public singing contest, students were given various instructions. Those who said, “I am excited,” scored an average of 81% compared to 69% for those who said, “I am anxious,” and 53% for those who said, “I am calm.”
Learn how to use anxiety to your advantage when you’re in high-stress situations. These tips will help you to perform better even when your palms are sweating.
Encouraging Yourself to Get Excited
- Remain fired up. It’s difficult to calm down when your body is on high alert. Excitement is an easier state to capture when you feel anxious and your heart rate is up.
- Distract yourself from self-doubts. You may have an interior monologue going on criticizing what you’re saying or how you look. Divert your attention to pleasant mental images or focus on the people around you.
- Focus on the positive. Think about what you have to gain in the situation. Focus on entertaining or helping your audience rather than worrying about forgetting your lines or losing your job.
- Generate flow. Put aside the outcomes for the moment. Lose yourself in the process. Enjoy what you’re doing for its own sake.
- Rename your feelings. Tell yourself you’re excited. Your brain will like that better than being anxious.
- Remember the benefits of anxiety. Anxiety has its positive side. It motivates us to take action. Without some anxiety, we would have little incentive to work or do anything challenging.
- Accept your feelings. Realize that anxiety is natural. Everyone experiences uncertainty and wonders what will happen in the future. By some estimates, about 20% of people report that their performance suffers when they feel tense.
- Seek long term peace. While it’s difficult to calm down on short notice, serenity is still a worthwhile goal. Your mind and body need time to recover after demanding experiences. Manage stress, get good quality sleep, and make time for relaxation.
- Evaluate advice. High anxiety makes people more likely to seek outside advice and less likely to assess it accurately. Think before you follow someone else’s recommendations. Consider how to adapt them to your own circumstances.
- Engage in rituals. Even irrational practices can help. Many athletes hold onto lucky bottle caps or wear a certain pair of socks. Find your own good luck charm!
- Beware of manipulation. Unfortunately, researchers also found that anxious people were more likely to attract advisors who would deliberately mislead them. Be extra careful if you have any doubts.
- Acknowledge genetics. There’s a strong hereditary basis for stress responses. Some people are more physiologically sensitive. But, everyone can learn to become more resilient.
- Empathize with yourself and others. Anxiety is often confused with weakness. While you’re learning to manage your emotions, give yourself credit for becoming more adept. Encourage others who are going through similar struggles.
- Seek professional advice. If anxiety is interfering with your life, there are effective treatments. Talk with your doctor to see if medication or therapy may be helpful.
You can make anxiety work for you. Just stop calling it anxiety and tap into your excitement! You’ll feel better and enjoy more success
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One of my favourite quotes for reminding people that we may have no idea of the arduous journeys some of us have endured, just to get where we are today.
Some of us are born into poverty.
Some of us are born with disabilities.
Some of us are born into abusive situations.
It may have been a major struggle for someone to rise above their life challenges and even finish school with a few qualifications.
Yet some people think they can look at a low-paid manual worker as somehow ‘beneath’ them, assuming they didn’t try hard enough, or pay attention at school, and therefore ‘deserve’ low pay and poor working conditions.
That low-paid manual worker you’re judging could have been a young carer, getting up at 5 am every day to care for their sick or disabled single parent before school, having to stop off at shops on the way home to get food for dinner, then cooking it, and cleaning up the house, before collapsing into bed exhausted after putting their parent to bed, with no time or energy left to do homework, or study for exams.
The depths they may have climbed from could be vast, compared to the heights other people without such challenges have soared, and the effort they have put into their life immense.
Think about this next time you are tempted to look down on someone for their current station in life and just be grateful that your own life afforded you the luxury of not having the same challenges…
The wealth disparity is constantly growing. Wouldn’t it be nice to be on the other end of the spectrum for a change?
The good news is: Wealth leaves clues! Those with consistent financial distress share many characteristics. Those with money share other characteristics. If you can exhibit these wealthy characteristics consistently, you’ll enjoy a greater level of wealth, too. Download our free guide to help you Love Your Money when you sign up for our money tips 🙂
Nagging is ineffective and puts a strain on your relationships. Instead, try some of these ways to get what you want. Some are so easy you can start doing them immediately while you build up to the more advanced strategies.
Simple Alternatives to Nagging
- Do the maths! If you still need to convince yourself that nagging fails to get results, try counting how many times you repeat the same request. The tenth time is likely to turn out the same as the first nine attempts. You have everything to gain by trying a new approach, and remember the definition of insanity; doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results!
- Focus on the positive. Keep your eye on the big picture. When you think about how your family, friends and colleagues enrich your life, it’s easier to cut them some slack on the less pleasant details of your interactions.
- Do it yourself. It may be faster and more satisfying to complete a task yourself rather than waiting for someone else to do it. Learn to replace the air filter in your car. Sweep the stairs or wash the dishes even when your spouse was going to do those jobs this week.
- Become more flexible. Let your kids know that you appreciate their willingness to help out even if their methods are different from your own. Smoothing out the bedspread makes the room look tidier even if you have to give up on hospital corners.
- Let others experience the consequences of their decisions/forgetfulness. Maybe your children surprise you with a major craft project due the next morning on the same evening when you usually go grocery shopping. Eating cheese on toast for a week may help them understand the importance of giving you enough notice next time!
- Engage outside help. Consider paying professionals for chores that cause ongoing conflicts. A weekly housecleaning service may be worth the investment, especially if it saves your relationship. Find another parent at your child’s school who wants to take turns driving them to swimming lessons.
- Re-evaluate your priorities. Irritability is often a sign that you’re trying to do too much. Figure out which responsibilities are most important and which you can leave/delegate.
- Embrace technology. Brief text messages and automated calendar reminders deliver the same information with less risk of putting people on the defensive. Remind your partner that you have a dinner party tonight without saying a word.
- Take a time out. Deal with sensitive subjects when you’re feeling calm and collected. Sometimes the best thing you can do is take a walk until you settle down.
More Advanced Alternatives to Nagging
- Address the root issues. Probe more deeply to see if nagging is a symptom of deeper issues in your relationships. Marital counselling or parenting classes may help you get to the bottom of what’s going on.
- Ask for what you want directly. Work up the courage to state what you need clearly and tactfully. One skillful message beats years of beating around the bush.
- Listen well. Practice attentive listening. Concentrate on what the other person is saying and confirm that you understand. It’s easier to cooperate with each other when we feel validated and cared for.
- Nurture your self esteem. Some studies suggest that women are more prone to nagging because they feel like they have less power. Encourage yourself with positive self talk and pursue meaningful goals. Feeling strong and secure makes you less vulnerable to finding faults in others.
If you’re tired of repeating the same requests without getting the results you desire, it’s time to try some alternatives to nagging. Change your expectations and improve your communication skills. You may wind up with a happier family life and a cleaner house.
This is similar to what has propelled me to prioritise travelling myself – until 2 years ago, I’d only ever chosen to take 1 holiday to Majorca in my whole life, as I had developed a belief that foreign holidays weren’t for ‘people like me’.
After becoming chronically ill and then being diagnosed with a genetic condition a couple of years ago, I realised that none of us get out of this life alive and it was time to start prioritising my lifelong dream of travelling! We’ve cut down on ALL but the most vital expenditure, living frugally most days, and are manifesting the money to be able to afford it (something I again never believed possible, as I had such a poverty mindset!).
In just the last year I have pushed past my mental limitations to take my children for a day trip to France, then a trip to Venice for my partner and I, then 5 months later ANOTHER trip to Venice for my birthday, then two months after that, a mini-cruise to another part of France, and finally, we’ve just come back from a trip to Paris!
It’s physically been a challenge because of my health not being great these days (so at the moment, my dreams of walking the Great Wall of China and visiting Machu Picchu are on hold!), so I would urge ANYONE to stop living their dreams in their heads, and get out there living them in reality, whilst you’re still fit and healthy enough to really enjoy it!
A well known speaker started off her seminar by holding up a $20 bill. In the room of 200, she asked. “Who would like this $20 bill?”
Hands started going up. She said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you – but first, let me do this.”
She proceeded to crumple the 20 dollar note up. She then asked. “Who still wants it?” Still the hands were up in the air.
“Well,” she replied, “what if I do this?” She dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with her shoe. She picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. “Now, who still wants it?”
Still the hands went into the air.
“My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.
Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless; but no matter what happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value.
Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who love you. The worth of our lives comes, not in what we do or who we know, but by …WHO WE ARE.
You are special – don’t ever forget it.”
Share this, as you might brighten someone’s day.