Anxiety is an uncomfortable feeling. From an evolutionary perspective, it can serve as a warning sign for situations that are triggering and/or dangerous. Anxiety, though, when well managed, can actually be good for you. To no surprise, too much of anything is no good, however, the right amount helps keep you alert, aware, and on your game.
There is an optimal amount of anxiety which actually contributes to good performance. Think back to the last time you gave a presentation or performed in front of a large group of people. Odds are you were mildly anxious- hopefully. That is a good thing. This is especially true for athletes. Being mildly anxious can elevate your performance by maintaining an optimal state of arousal.
So the next time you feel anxious embrace it and stay in the present. It is useful to feel anxious because it allows you the opportunity to be in tune with your physiological sensations and your thoughts! Think of the mind-body connection. So if you feel a wave of anxiety before your next big event, remember it can be a good thing!
Natascha M. Santos, Psy. D.