Oral presentations. The pressure of getting good grades. Drama or music performances. Auditions. Exams.
There are many causes for stress and nerves during school. Although this can prove a crucial stumbling-block for many students, what many fail to recognise is that fear actually can provide an opportunity.
On a physiological level, the reaction occurring in our bodies when we are stressed actually very closely resembles another state: excitement. In both of these states, the body is preparing for action, with the release of cortisol, the heart-beat increasing, and the feeling of butterflies in the stomach. After all, why do (some) people enjoy roller coasters? There is an inextricable element of fear to their appeal, and a resultant thrill from pushing through the fear and letting go.
Aside from the physical aspect of fear, it is also very valuable to look at its mental effects. Even a simple reframing of the issue could help: rather than looking at your fear as threatening, see it as an opportunity, visualising everything positive that could arise from the situation. Going for a job interview? Think about the exciting fact you could get a great job, not your fears of bombing out on the interview. If you're nervous about doing an English oral presentation in front of the class, try not to focus on the social embarrassment or fear of failure you might be experiencing. Instead, think about the important messages you're going to convey, and the opportunity you have to grow and improve in an area so many people find difficult.
This does not mean you should "ignore" your fears, or try to "calm down". Instead, some studies have shown that by simply telling yourself "I'm excited" when nervous or afraid, people actually perform better at the task at hand. Ultimately, anticipation provides an opportunity.
If you loved this article, you will LOVE all of our other articles, such as: Improve At School Without Opening A Single Textbook, 2U Maths Tips from a Past Student (98 in 2U Maths)! and My Pathway To Becoming A Tutor.
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