Ways to use Anxiety to Improve Performance
Why Do We Experience Anxiety
Like most other emotions we as human beings experience, anxiety is borne out of the evolutionary need to survive as a species. From a biological perspective, it is our body’s way of alerting us of possible dangers that our actions might bring about. This capacity was an instrumental response during pre-modern periods when environmental threats were more intense, and we humans relied heavily on our fight-or-flight mechanisms. Scientists refer to this much simpler period as an immediate-return environment; the outcome of our own decisions and actions presents itself almost immediately. For example, when early humans saw a predator in their path, they would have most probably chosen to take another direction and will get to live for another day. The benefit of the decision was evident, and the experience was instantaneous.
But as more modern times have crept upon us, without our primal behavioural evolution realising it, our environments have considerably changed. Threats have become less acute, and a delayed-return climate has incorporated itself into our lives. We have now developed a sense of worrying about the future. Most of the choices we make do not present an immediate benefit. We go to school for a quarter of our lives, with the hopes of landing an excellent job as adults. You do good on your job so you can get a higher salary after a few years. You save a part of your salary periodically so that you can retire comfortably. Most aspects of modern society we consider the most important are structured in such a way that the rewards are delayed until some point in the future. Because of this, we sometimes feel helpless because we cannot be sure of the outcome of our day-to-day decisions—and we desperately long for validation of our actions.
And because our brains haven’t had the time to adapt to a delayed-return environment, it leads to what we experience as anxiety and chronic mental fatigue.
Use it to Your Advantage
On a neurological level, anxiety signals our conscious self to increase attention and motivation. We can take advantage of these signals to improve our behaviour and performance at certain times. But to begin with, we must first learn to recognise and accept our feelings of anxiety—when it’s triggered and what triggers it. When we can identify the situations that prompt our anxiety, we will eventually realise that these are the things that we sincerely care for or deem essential.
Anxiety can have a powerful influence on how we direct our attention. In today’s world, where we are continuously bombarded with stimuli, the way anxiety returns our focus to what we believe to be most important can positively influence our decision-making process.
When we feel stress from anxiety, we can take that as a motivation to act upon problems or undesirable situations. Provided that we’ve learned to embrace anxiety, rather than letting it petrify us, its lingering sense will keep us on our toes until we find an acceptable resolution to whatever issue we might be facing.
Another actionable way of harnessing the benefits of anxiety is to associate the emotion with excitement. Spin it into something positive, instead of keeping it related to negative feelings. Whenever we feel a sensation or emotion, we react and perceive it based on past experiences and vocabulary. How we label things and situations can have a substantial impact on our perception. The human mind is powerful enough to construct the emotions we experience.
How Much is Too Much
Not everyone can handle the same amount of anxiety. While a person can channel minimal anxiety levels into something positive, excessive and persistent feelings of worry and fear must be consulted with a professional. Anxiety disorders should never be taken lightly by anyone. When panic attacks, irritability, or lack of concentration gets in the way of everyday activities, it’s best to seek treatment.
Moving Minds Hypnotherapy offers calm and compassionate Hypnosis for Anxiety services, including hypnotherapy for teenage anxiety. Our master hypnotist will help you break free from anxiety and other mental health concerns through blended hypnotherapy techniques.
Call us today at 0422 741 041 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to helping you live a fuller, stress-free life.