How to break the cycle of performance anxiety? (+7 Easy ways)

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Page last updated: 12/11/2022

In this blogpost, we will be discussing different ways to break the cycle of performance anxiety. In addition to this, we will also be explaining how to break the cycle of sexual performance anxiety, particularly for men.

How to break the cycle of performance anxiety?

In order to break the cycle of performance anxiety, you can follow these steps discussed in the following section,

Try Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is one of the best exercises to bring relaxation which is essential to break the cycle of performance anxiety. While deep breathing, you are bringing a better balance between the O2 and CO2 levels in your blood which automatically makes your body relax.

Practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Apart from deep breathing, Progressive Muscle Relaxation is another great exercise if you want to relax. While the entire protocol may take up to thirty minutes to complete, you can also try the shorter version if you don’t have much time on your hands.

Relax with Guided Imagery

Another relaxation technique which you can use is guided imagery. Through this technique, you will be able to explore a relaxing scenario using the cues and the guides in the script which is provided. You can find numerous free scripts for guided imagery online.

Rehearse with Visualization

Visualization is a very powerful technique which is used by many professional athletes before their games. The beauty of visualization is that it can be used for relaxation purposes and also for rehearsal purposes.

The more you rehearse a certain scenario using visualization, the lesser your apprehension will be. You will also be able to use your coping skills and strategies like breathing exercises when you visualize your anxieties, making you a stronger person.

Use Positive self-talk

Self-talk is another way to go if you are trying to break the cycle of performance anxiety. Self-talk is very powerful and can immediately boost your mindset and mood state whenever you are finding yourself stressed.

Self-talk can be cue statements to turn your thought process from a negative to a positive one. They can also be affirmations that make you feel stronger and more confident as a person. They can also be questions that make you challenge the situation.

Eat more healthy foods

Our mindsets and mood states also depend heavily on what you eat. If you consume foods which contain a lot of caffeine, this can increase your anxiety levels. Therefore, it is best to eat healthy food before a major stress-inducing situation.

Also, eating too much processed food in your diet can also induce sudden changes in your blood sugar levels. This can also lead to anxiety symptoms. Thus, many health experts advise eating non-starchy fiber-filled foods.

Start exposing yourself

Once you have equipped yourself with enough coping strategies and skillsets, you can start exposing yourself to stressful situations. You can start with visually seeing the situation from a distance and then slowly getting more involved until you are completely comfortable.

When you are feeling your stress or anxiety levels rising when you are exposing yourself to your trigger factor, you need to remember to practice your coping strategies. It may not be easy at first, but the feelings of anxiety will eventually dip down after a few tries.

Change your perspective

Another thing that you need to remember is that when you are really excited about a certain event, your behavioral reactions can also be sometimes misinterpreted as performance anxiety. Sometimes, simply thinking of your anxiety as excitement can also help you.

This may sound absurd, but it actually works. When you think of a stressful situation as an exciting situation, your mind automatically stops thinking of it as a ‘threat’ and instead sees it as an achievable challenge.

See a therapist

Finally, you can also see a therapist if you find that you are struggling to cope with your performance anxiety. In therapy sessions, you will become more aware of the actual reasons why you have performance anxiety and learn appropriate coping strategies.

Apart from one-on-one therapy sessions, you can also gain a lot from group therapy sessions and even support groups. In support groups, you can meet more people like you, ultimately breaking the taboo in your head, and can also learn new coping skill sets.

How to break the cycle of sexual performance anxiety?

Sexual performance anxiety is more common than you think, and is more prominent among males. In this section of the article, we have outlined the best strategies that you can use to break the cycle of sexual performance anxiety if you are a male dealing with this problem.

Take your own sweet time

Often sex can be a very rushed activity and in the excitement, this can sometimes lead to performance anxiety, particularly in males. The important thing to remember here is to slow down and enjoy the experience. When things go slowly, your anxiety will reduce.

Be open with your partner

Sex is never just about one partner. Since it is always a two-way street, it is important to be open in communication with your partner. Having a partner who genuinely understands what you are going through will make the experience much better for you.

Engage in more foreplay

Rather than getting to the main show as soon as possible, it is also wise to engage in more foreplay. Foreplay is not just loved by the ladies but can also do wonders in terms of performance anxiety for men. It can further increase the time spent in the bedroom.

Stop getting ideas from porn

One of the biggest fooleries that people do is to get all their ideas for sex from the porn they watch, forgetting that what they are watching is not real and heavily edited. Rather than taking inspiration from porn, be inspired by your body and that of your partner’s.

Enjoy the moment

Another thing that can often lead to performance anxiety is overthinking. When we overthink about the future, the anxiety in our present can gradually increase. In case you find your thoughts drifting off, actively bring it back to the present and enjoy the moment.

Invest in your relationship

Dating for temporary dalliances is the trend right now and everyone seems to have more notches on their bedpost than ever. But, this can also lead to performance anxiety. If you are in a relationship, invest in it and make the best out of it.

Being in a mature relationship with more depth and understanding can also lead to reduced performance anxiety. This is mainly since it is no longer considered a performance but sex becomes just one more cog in the great wheel of your relationship.

Avoid consuming alcohol before sex

A lot of people often have a misconception that alcohol can lead to an increased sex drive. But, while it may increase the appetite for sex, the actual performance may dip. Try to stay off alcohol and drugs before sex to make sure that you are getting the best.

Work on your own mental health

Working on your own mental health and boosting your self-esteem can massively improve your performance in the bedroom. When you know that you are in charge of your perceptions and your beliefs, your confidence will automatically decreasing your anxiety levels.

Consult a health expert

If you find that your performance anxiety is getting too out of hand and is really disturbing your sex life, you can always consult a health expert. More often than not, it might be a small issue which can be easily treatable.

Health experts who specialize in sexual health can also help you eat better and sleep better for the sake of a better sex life. Improving your overall health can also directly impact your sexual health, reducing your performance anxiety gradually.

Conclusion

In this blogpost, we have discussed different ways to break the cycle of performance anxiety. In addition to this, we have also explained how to break the cycle of sexual performance anxiety, particularly for men.

If you like this blogpost, please leave your comments and questions in the space below.

Citations

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6646850/
https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/psychology/performance-anxiety
https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2013/12/performance-anxiety
https://www.hbs.edu/ris/Publication%20Files/xge-a0035325%20(2)_0287835d-9e25-4f92-9661-c5b54dbbcb39.pdf
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/247789714_Performance_Anxiety_A_Longitudinal_Study_of_the_Roles_of_Personality_and_Experience_in_Musicians
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/01/study-fight-performance-anxiety-by-getting-excited/282886/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stage_fright