Techniques for Dealing with an Anxiety Provoking Situation
Have you ever frozen under pressure? Would you like to be more confident? Do you wish you could perform better in front of people? Have you ever suffered from anxiety due to sports? These are many questions individuals face everyday in work, school, with friends, and when competing athletically. Here are a few tips and techniques that may help you the next time you are facing a stressfulanxiety provoking situation.
Extinction: Used to reduce or eliminate conditioned fear by repeatedly presenting an eliciting (draw out) cue without the threatening event. (facing fear in a comfortable environment)
Relaxation Training: Training that teaches a person to trigger a series of physiological reactions that signal relaxation.
- Progressive Relaxation: A procedure in which a person learns to tense and then relax selected muscle groups in order to evoke a relaxation response.
- Systematic Desensitization: A variant of counter-conditioning which the therapist systematically pairs anxiety-arousing events with relaxation or some other conflicting behavior.
Reinforced Practice: An operant technique that rewards a person for overcoming anxiety by approaching the anxiety-producing stimulus step-by-step.
Biofeedback Training: An operant technique that uses reward outcomes (feedback) to control autonomic responses such as heart rate and muscle tension.
Imagery: Mental representation of a non-present object or event. (picture your success)
Visuomotor Behavioral Rehearsal: A mental preparation strategy in which the athlete utilizes relaxation training, imagery, and skill practice in a simulated environment. (simulate the environment and then practice the task)
Stress Inoculation Training: An anxiety reduction technique in which causes and dynamics of anxiety are delineated (outlined), followed by practice of appropriate coping behavior. (An appropriate coping strategy for dealing with the negative emotional fallout that comes with anxiety)
Cognitive Control: Maintaining control of one’s thoughts in order to keep a positive, confident perspective and avoid negative self-talk.
- Thought Stoppage: A cognitive control technique in which negative thoughts are eliminated through the use of mental or physical triggers. (snapping a rubber band against your wrist)
- Countering: a cognitive control technique that uses an internal dialogue filled with facts and reasons to refuse negative thinking. (self positive reassurance)
- Reframing: A cognitive control technique in which the athlete/individual takes negative thoughts and reframes them as positive.
Hypnosis: An altered state of consciousness characterized by increased receptiveness to suggestion
Yoga, Zen, and Transcendental Meditation: Relax by excluding distracting images from consciousness
Psych-Up Strategies: A strategy intended to create a state of energy and mental readiness that gives a competitor a psychological advantage.
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LeUnes, A., & Nation, J. (2002). Sport psychology. Pacific Grove: Wadsworth Group.