Does anxiety hurt your performance? Learn about the “Suppression Factor”

You are ready to serve for the match and your playing partner says don’t double-fault or tries to encourage you by saying get  your first serve in. The result is a double-fault on match point because you tried so hard not to double fault. What is going on here? This incident is a perfect example of trying to hard to suppress your anxiety and not choking. When under pressure and specifically trying to avoid mentioning something or doing what you don’t want to do the negative thought, word or action can still find a way out of your  reptile brain because you become consciously incompetent because your emotions take over and try to hard  to suppress what you don’t want to do. There is a lot of research on this mental process that we call choking. Psychologist provide  two fancy words for this effect  the  “Suppression Factor”  

These thought processes are strongest when we try to hard or are stressed in some way. That’s why a lot of the time when wanting something so much you perform poorly. When you want to achieve a certain result strong emotions get attached to winning or controlling our behavior and we can cause the very behavior we want to control; think of the situation in wanting to fall asleep and we toss or turn all night or needing a three putt for par and take home the Golf Club Championship.

The main way to avoid all these problems is to find a way to relax, visualization, stick with your routine and this will distract the strong unconscious emotions. So instead of trying so hard at your next presentation, golf match or negative reactions to your boss. Stop, Take a deep breath, count to twenty and do what you want to do. If you are intrigued by this performance concept checkout the recent posting on the Psyblog or learn more about Relation at  thewick blog 


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