Ever gone blank in an exam hall as an A student? How about going off key on stage when you’ve never missed a note while performing in your bathroom?
This phenomenon I’m sure has happened to almost everyone and it is called choking. Despite years or decades of practice and perfection, a person under pressure can experience this. Two theories explain how and why choking occurs.
The first is the theory of distraction. This theory suggests that performance declines when a persons mind is filled with fear, doubt or worry instead of placing focus on the task at hand. When these thoughts occupy space in your mind, they begin to compete with what is relevant and cause distraction.
The other theory is the theory of explicitly monitoring. It explains how pressure can cause people to over analyze a task. Once a skill becomes automatic, that is, once it becomes habitual, thinking about its precise details and mechanics will interfere with your performance. It can also be called over-analysis.
Self-conscious people, anxious people, and those who are scared of judgment are more likely to freak out or experience choking during a performance.
The ability to stay calm under pressure is directly linked to your performance. Research shows that 90 percent of top performers are skilled at managing their thoughts and emotions in times of stress to remain calm and in control. How do they do this?
They practice under stress:
If you regularly practice football on a big pitch with thousands of people watching, it will not be much of a big deal to you when you perform in front of a similar number of people. You will be able to resist the games your mind might want to play because you are already accustomed to the situation.
They stay positive:
Positive thoughts aid in making stress discontinuous by focusing your brain’s attention on something that is free of stress. When things are going well, you may not need to put much energy into focusing on positive things but in the opposite situation, you will have to put in extra work to help your wandering brain. Try to pick out a good memory and say positive things to yourself.
The easiest way to relieve stress is to take deep breaths. The practice of being in the moment with as will train your brain to focus on the task at hand and get rid of distractions. At the beginning, distractions may cloud your mind still but just give it time, you will get rid of them.
They are confident:
Confidence means that you are sure if your abilities and you believe in yourself. How do you build confidence? Talk to your self. Tell your self how good you are and how you have overcome many obstacles before. Make affirmations. The constant reminder you give to yourself will gradually clear the negativity; the fear, doubt and worry.
They do not over analyze:
If you begin to think too much about a task that is supposed to be simple to you, you may end up doing the wrong thing. Try your possible best o see it as the regular thing you do. Remember how you smash it daily without thinking of the mechanism.
The two theories mentioned above point at the same thing, focus. Always remember to focus and avoid over analysis then you can face any crowd, give the biggest presentation at your work place and kill that project.