“Why on earth am I doing this?” “This is going to be impossible.” “Is it too late to back out?” If you’ve ever found yourself thinking these thoughts around a specific deadline, task, or event, you might be dealing with anxiety under pressure. Known by many names, such as performance anxiety or stage fright, anxiety under pressure can be debilitating.
Many situations can set off these anxious thoughts. Perhaps you’re giving a big speech, or maybe you decided to sign up for a marathon. If you’re hoping to do well, it’s easy to start putting pressure on yourself. This, in turn, can lead to feelings of self-doubt and stress. However, you can outsmart these thought patterns with these 4 steps:
The first step in overcoming anxiety under pressure is to identify it. You can’t claim it if you don’t name it! Find a way to express your feelings in a helpful way. You can do this by journaling or talking about it with a trusted friend, relative, or mentor. Most of all, don’t forget to pray about it! God is an excellent listener, and he cares about your experiences. 1 Peter 5:7 encourages us to “give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”
Starting is the hardest part of most projects, tasks, or assignments. If you’re feeling stuck on how to prepare for your big deadline, try working backward. Identify where you want to be in terms of confidence or preparedness. Then, honestly evaluate where you are right now and what you’ll need to do to perform successfully. Don’t forget to invite God into the planning process!
We’re reminded in Proverbs 16:9 that “we can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Pay attention to the ways he might be directing you as you prepare.
Once you’ve nailed down a plan of execution, practice it. Remember that practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does make excellent. It will take discipline and a lot of patience to stick to your plan. Like Hebrews 12:11 says, “no discipline is enjoyable while it is happening – it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” The more confident you feel in your preparation, the less anxious you’ll be when you execute.
Finally, execute what you’ve planned. If you’re still feeling nervous, think back on all the steps you’ve taken that brought you to this moment. You’ve planned and practiced, and now it’s time to trust your hard work and perform with confidence. Don’t forget to take a moment to thank God for bringing you to this point, and treat your performance as an opportunity to give the glory back to him. “And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17
Still feeling anxious?
There’s a difference between having occasional stage fright and living with an anxiety disorder. If you’re struggling with anxiety, check out our mental health resources and start taking steps toward healing today.
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