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How CBT Can Aid Performance

Stress and anxiety can hamper our lives in many ways, but one of the most corrosive is when we are called upon to perform.

This might be a theatrical performance, a sporting fixture, the requirement to give a speech or talk at a major life event, like a speech at a wedding, or it could be a performance at work, like a presentation or live web presentation. It could also be an exam, or a driving test.

In each of these cases performance anxiety or the fear of failure can have a huge impact. This is even true for those who are the best at what they do. One only needs to look at sport to see top performers from Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and tennis player Naomi Osaka to cricketer Ben Stokes, to realise even they are far from mentally invulnerable.

The last thing you want to do is fluff your lines on stage, blow that exam or freeze at a key moment on a driving test. This is where cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can enable you to get on top of things.

CBT can help you get to the root of the problem, by establishing the source of consistent anxiety. It also enables you to recognise and stop thought patterns such as catastrophising - where you imagine the worst thing that might happen and then convince yourself it will.

It will also teach you to be mindful and focus on the here and now, as yesterday cannot be changed and tomorrow can wait. This aids focus and enables you to concentrate entirely on the details of what you need to be doing at that moment.

It may be you are suffering from a wider stress problem, which could be affecting more than just performance at key moments. But CBT can help with that by also helping you mentally break down big problems into smaller ones.

That way, you can help ease a range of wider issues, which may do a lot to help you perform better in everyday life as well as at key moments.

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