Competing today? Nervous and anxious? That's good (if you view it as such!)

We all suffer the same feelings of nerves, apprehension and tension before going into competition or something that matters, be that a job interview, presentation or meeting.  It's normal and human.

However, the mindset we adopt around these feelings could have a profound effect on how we perform.

'Additional research, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, shows that instead of trying to calm yourself down, 'reappraising pre-performance anxiety as excitement' is often advantageous.  When you try to suppress the pre-event nerves, you are inherently telling yourself that something is wrong.  Not only does this make the situation worse, but if also takes emotional and physical energy to fight off the feeling of anxiety - energy that could be better spent on the task at hand.  Fortunately, according to the authors of this paper, simply telling yourself, 'I am excited' shifts your demeanour from what they call a threat mindset (stressed out and apprehensive) to an opportunity mindset (revved up and ready to go).  'Compared to those who attempt to calm down,' the authors conclude, 'individuals who reappraise their anxious arousal as excitement perform better.'  Put differently: The sensations you feel prior to a big event are neutral - if you view them in a positive light, they are more likely to have a positive impact on your performance.'  

(This last paragraph was taken from 'Peak Performance' by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness.  Bolds are mine)