Students

Performance anxiety

Are you afraid that you are not good enough as you are, in your own or in others' eyes? What does performance anxiety mean to you? What situations are you thinking of? How does it feel? if you want to change your situation, take it in small steps. Set realistic goals and remember that change takes time.

Are your thoughts negative?

Negative thoughts appear automatically. Try to observe and identify them: stop, reformulate and develop thoughts that are more realistic.

If you find yourself thinking negatively:

  • Is there any other way to think about this?
  • Is there any truth to what I'm thinking and saying right now?
  • Think of three things that make you happy everyday!

Strengthen your sense of being able to make your own decisions:

  • Think of a situation in your life where you made an independent decision that you are pleased about!
  • What did you think about when you made this decision? Who supported you? What made you finally able to make your decision?

Take care of yourself

Perhaps you have high expectations or place many demands on yourself. Perhaps others have high expectations for you. Pick one of the demands that you have right now:

  • Is there another way of looking at it? Find another perspective!
  • Think about what you want!
  • Dare to question what others expect from you. Talk to the person in question about these expectations.
  • Learn to say no occasionally.

How you think about yourself and what you say about yourself affects how you feel and how you act. What words do you use about yourself? Reframe your thoughts so that they become positive. Rather than thinking, "I can't do this", try to instead think, "maybe I can do this". 

You can make a difference to how you feel:

  • Write down several words describing what you like about yourself.
  • Pay attention when others give you praise or say something positive to you. Say thank you or express how good it is to hear that.
  • Stop trying to be perfect. See your mistakes or failures as a learning process. Ask what went wrong and what you can learn for next time. Did I have the right knowledge? Could I influence anything or were there external circumstances which I could not influence?
  • Don't compare yourself with others!
  • Think about what you do. After a work or study day ask yourself this question - "What have I done today that I am pleased with?"
  • A simple relaxation exercise: stand and take three deep breaths.

Advice and support

You are welcome to turn to the Student Health Centre if you would like to get advice or individual support about performance anxiety.

Have a look at the section about stress and fear of speaking in public to get more examples about how to handle stress and negative thoughts.