Many individuals view anxiety as an uncomfortable feeling, often crippling, that springs up unannounced in the most inopportune moments. People experiencing chronic anxiety go to great lengths to get rid of such life-disruptive emotions.
Whether it be asking a person out for the prom, getting on an airplane, preparing for an interview or introducing oneself to a new crowd, most individuals in such scenarios experience a certain degree of anxiousness. Although the impact of anxiety and its symptoms vary from person to person, people suffering from such a problem experience a range of dreadful symptoms such as shaking hands, weak knees, sweaty palms, and elevated heart rate and blood pressure.
As a result, most people tend to avoid any anxiety-provoking situation rather than confronting them. Though largely perceived as immensely dangerous, many people believe that anxiety can play a pivotal role in enhancing a person’s performance. Apparently, anxiety is a healthy emotion that can steer people in the right direction when leveraged appropriately and treated positively to worsening of the condition. Therefore, everything depends on the way an affected person responds to any anxiety-triggering situation.
Embrace anxiety rather than suppressing it
In an effort to spare oneself from anxiety, a person may turn down favorable opportunities that come their way and avoid taking decisions that pull them out of their comfort zone. Such people largely perceive stressful events as a threat (real or imaginary) rather than a challenge.
Interestingly, in most cases, such events do not signal a lost cause. In fact, anxiety is not necessarily a bad thing; people who take the above-mentioned life-changing stressful events as a challenge tend to boost their energy due to anxiety. Therefore, awareness of the ins and outs of this emotion can empower an individual to turn the tables on the debilitating effects of anxiety and perform better.
Biologically, when an individual encounters a stressful or dangerous situation, his or her fight-or-flight instinct kicks in as a response to the threat. This response to stress is commonly known as anxiety. When a person’s anxiety runs rampant, it may make him or her feel like being stuck in a precarious situation. Fortunately, such circumstances often turn out to be not life-threatening.
A study published in the Journal of Individual Differences explored the relationship between anxiety and performance by determining the way people use emotions like anxiety as a source of motivation. The researchers discovered that anxiety rather than hindering can potentially enhance a person’s performance. They found that people performed better when they acknowledged their anxiety instead of suppressing it. Those open to accepting their anxiety tend to spend qualitative time on their goals.
As mentioned above, this was particularly evident among individuals who viewed stressful events as challenges rather than a dangerous threat. These findings suggest that people in touch with their emotions (clarity of feelings) are more likely to flourish even under anxiety by using them positively to attain their goals and find satisfaction at work.
Actions absorb anxiety
When anxiety comes knocking on one’s doors, there are two ways to respond to it. While one entails escaping, avoiding and denying it, the other scenario includes embracing such uncomfortable feelings. By being aware that anxiety provides an opportunity to augment performance, one can explore the positive aspects of anxiety.
This can also assist in alleviating the symptoms of anxiety than can turn adverse in the long run. Although it may be a difficult task to achieve this in the first couple of attempts, a person can gradually learn to mold his or her anxiety and nervousness into jet propellers that let them aim sky high.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), anxiety is defined as an emotion characterized by the feeling of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes, such as increased blood pressure. When one’s ability to handle anxiety depreciates, it leaves him or her vulnerable to the adverse consequences of this emotion. When severe anxiety permeates into all aspects of a person’s life, it is most likely that he or she is experiencing an anxiety disorder at full throttle.