We all experience anxiety now and then. After all, normal anxiety is the body’s natural stress response. It helps us identify danger and unknown threats. It motivates us to face challenges. The ‘right’ amount of anxiety can push us to perform better. But there’s another side to this coin. While normal anxiety can provide healthy boosts, chronic anxiety can be a barrier. With high anxiety and low self-confidence, a person may feel limited. Doubting themselves and their capabilities, they may experience generalized or performance anxiety. Ultimately, persistent anxiety can lead to the development of anxiety disorders like panic disorder, OCD, phobias, or social anxiety disorder.
Anxiety may threaten or completely wipe out one’s self-confidence. The resulting feelings of limitation may only fuel anxiety more. But there’s hope. No one has to stay fixed in this cycle. At Pure Health Center, our professionals specialize in counseling for all types of anxiety, stress management, self-esteem, and more. We help clients recognize the importance of building self-confidence and taking back power.
The Pain of Performance Anxiety
Confident people aren’t perfect beings above emotions. They, too, suffer from feelings of inadequacy from time to time. It’s natural to have nervousness and feel butterflies inside before performing on stage or when giving that presentation. However, some people have performance anxiety—a specific type of anxiety built on a fear of one’s ability to perform tasks. These individuals experience excessive sweating, nausea, elevated blood pressure, and more before a recital, speech, sporting event, interview, or sexual activity. In some cases, these sensations and panic attacks occur at just the thought of such events. It’s so debilitating for some people that they can’t perform. Worry and panic can set in ahead of tasks due to the fear of failing and being negatively evaluated. This fear can keep people from doing things they’re good at or trying new things.
Hope for Performance Anxiety
Skilled, licensed therapists can help individuals who experience severe performance anxiety cope with and overcome their fears. Professionally led individual and couples counseling sessions can cover anxiety, stress management, intimacy struggles, and sexual concerns.
Avoidance & Social Anxiety
Individuals with social anxiety have experiences similar to those with performance anxiety. They live with extreme apprehension, fear, avoidance, and pain. For instance, going for walks may only be possible for someone with social anxiety if they avoid eye contact with passersby. Others may avoid unnecessary trips outside altogether out of fear of others stopping and talking to them. Likewise, some people may dread going to work because they’re afraid of conferences and meetings with others.
Social Anxiety Leads to Self-imposed Barriers
Social anxiety can have a person fretting over things they’ve said or done. As with performance anxiety, individuals with social anxiety may worry about others’ disapproval and rejection before acting. They may be too anxious to join conversations, fearing others won’t value their input. And when they do work up the courage to converse, they may be prone to ruminating afterward. While relief may set in because the conversation is over, they may agonize that they fumbled the exchange. To prevent such experiences, socially anxious people may hide deep inside themselves. They may think they’re protecting themselves, but a licensed therapist can help them recognize that their actions are counterproductive. A mental health professional can help people see self-punishing behaviors aren’t effective defenses against the pain and awkwardness of life.
Self-confidence is the antidote to anxiety
Knowing you excel at something and being proud of yourself is different from being boastful, vain, and arrogant. Arrogance doesn’t benefit or serve you. Often, it’s just a way of overcompensating for insecurities or flaws—a display for others. On the other hand, authentic, healthy self-confidence has positive effects such as:
- Less worrying that you’re not good enough
- Better energy and performance
- Improved engagement with others and healthier relationships
- Deeper empathy for others and awareness of their feelings
- Greater willingness to try new things
- Enhanced resilience
Take Back Your Power Over Your Mind, Body, and Life
Self-confidence is more than just an attitude about your abilities and skills. This healthy belief in yourself can be protective. It can motivate you to do your best and be your best. When you’re feeling confident, you’re more likely to make beneficial choices for yourself and your health. A self-confident person is more likely to put care into their outer appearance, hygiene, and what they eat and drink. They’re more likely to be active indoors and outdoors yet know when to rest. A self-confident person can be more forgiving of themselves when things are going right or going wrong. They have kinder, more reassuring yet rational thoughts. Ultimately, self-confidence and a more positive outlook on life can help improve mental and emotional well-being.
- Step outside your comfort zone. Permit yourself to try new things and show yourself more grace and patience. Instead of prematurely labeling ventures as failures, entertain the possibility of success. Seeing a therapist for anxiety counseling or stress management, for instance, is a significant step outside your comfort zone that involves trial and error. The more you succeed and feel safe as you open up, the more confident you’ll feel.
- Forgive your past and focus on the future. Fears, worries, panic attacks, and other obstacles are real. But they don’t have to last forever or break your belief in yourself. You can still trust your ability to effectively cope with anxiety symptoms and succeed in therapy, no matter how long it takes. At Pure Health Center, compassionate counselors can help you learn from the past and look beyond any losses.
In individual counseling, you can learn healthy ways to cope with the symptoms of performance anxiety, social anxiety, and other forms of anxiety. With non-judgmental guidance, you can learn how to enhance your mental, emotional, and physical well-being with confidence. Reach out to us today to begin sessions focused on you and what you want to address.