“Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action”Walter Anderson
To be honest, we all deal with it, anxiety, to varying degrees. Even when I was getting ready to write this blog, I had put it off for a few days purely because I didn’t know if I had anything worthy to write about.
From a personal perspective, I have suffered from performance anxiety a LOT during my years of both design, creativity and even gaming. The feeling of not knowing what to do, why your abilities are dwindling and approaching obstacles that seem impossible to climb, those thoughts are major factors towards our willingness to try. This phenomenon was a major reason we decided to develop Beyond in the first place, with a selection of ingredients we researched thoroughly for their potential to reduce stress and the symptoms of anxiety.
Trying, for want of a better word, can be hard, especially with a perfectionist mentality. But the hardest part, in all honesty, is the mentality of wanting to improve. Your brain can be one of your worst enemies.
Because at the end of the day, manifesting that success is the first step to attaining it!
Case in point
If I’ve got an opportunity to play some of my favourite games online, Valorant and Apex Legends, I often times always try and find my friends to fall back on to play with. Normally with your best friends, the company is enough to shield you from the potential of being chastised for your performance. But alone, you often find that without that backup, those people telling you “nice try, bro”, jumping in head first on your own can be incredibly daunting.
I go through phases of confidence, I might go into the range, shoot a couple of dummies for scores in the high 20s, go into a deathmatch with real humans and hit 25+ kills, then feel confident enough to join in on the main fight for what really “matters”, a ranking. However, when it comes to changing over to that competitive game mode, I freeze, and the anxiety jumps into my brain. What if I can’t hit those shots I just managed with ease? What if my teammates are really toxic? What if I de-rank?
All these what if’s are enough to leave you in a form of emotional cryostasis and take it from me; it’s incredibly difficult to move away from that mentality as it will show up in your games and your work.
But the good news is, we’ve compiled a few tips to help with that anxiety, as these are a couple of steps that really helped me enjoy the process!
It might seem stupid and a bit simple, but taking the time to clear your mind, breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth, is enough to regulate your heartbeat back to normal and get back to what you need to do. Whether you’re close to a deadline or need to clutch a 1v5, there is so much that staying calm can do for you.
2: Losses as learning
Failure is our greatest teacher. The feeling of losing, or failing, is incredibly, INCREDIBLY difficult to process; however, utilizing the mentality of taking that loss, and learning about why you did, is so important. Maybe you shouldn’t use that method that takes double the time for a motion piece, or you shouldn’t peek that corner without checking all the angles. Everything we do wrong should give us the fuel for those right decisions and the right mentality to have a strategy towards how we can crush it the next time.
3: Learning to embrace improvement
Sure, that piece you made may have been something you did not think was the best, but what did you learn from it? Sure, you could have landed that shot, countered that move or figured out that play, but what did you learn in the process? The skills you gain through pressure can be golden, whether a new method of building an idea or a new place to look out for enemies.
Think about those new improvements; if you’re worried about the start because a blank canvas can be scary, I know that for certain. Learning is one of the biggest ways to get past your performance anxiety, so even if it’s not in practice, maybe check out a few tutorials, learn a new method from the pros, and along with your own personal learnings from those mistakes, you’ll have even more ammo with the knowledge you’ve gained!
4: Embrace the present
So, you’re in a situation where you don’t particularly feel comfortable, and that might make you not want to continue how you are right now. Whether or not it’s a new illustration style or a stressful situation you’re in, in-game. Embrace the present, and learn to appreciate the temporary stress, clear your mind, and think, what do I need to do, how should I move my hands, what should I focus on? That sort of approach should be the one draining out any thoughts of whether you can and allow you to think more about how you will.
The flow state is a great subject to research regarding this, in which you allow your mind to clear and be fully focused on the present and the task at hand. If you need to, mute your teammates, put on some music to cut the silence, whatever makes you relax, utilise it!
5. Maintain and sustain
One reason you might be stuck in a negative mentality may also be based on your lifestyle choices. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you staying hydrated? I have personally had unhealthy habits, like completely forgetting to drink throughout most of the day or staying up until stupid-o-clock for staying up sake, but those habits can take a bad toll on not only your physical health but also your mental health.
It’s actually a proven fact that learning skills and habits in the long term happens through our deepest state of sleep, REM sleep, and we don’t achieve that deepest state before ,on average 2-3 hours of sleep every night. Past that time period, we have multiple sessions of REM sleep, and that state helps improve your mood, and allows you to recall all you’ve learnt in a previous state of being awake.
So, remember to get as much sleep as you can (we’re not trying to hand out bedtimes here)! Eat a varied diet of foods, stay hydrated with a cup or two of Beyond and a few glasses of water throughout the day and exercise often, whether that’s a walk or a gym session. Your body will be so full of energy, you’ll be so excited to take on the world!
Bonus: Have a Beyond
Beyond in itself is packed with a wide variety of ingredients to help with contributing factors towards anxiety, such as Riboflavin, which reduces tiredness, but the ingredients we included on the Nootropic scale are way more targeted. Ashwagandha, for example, has memory-boosting properties, but has also been clinically proved to reduce stress and anxiety; L-Theanine is an amino acid often found in tea leaves, which contributes towards regulating blood pressure and, in turn, reducing stress, along with Ginkgo Biloba which boosts blood flow around the body, supporting your focus abilities. In turn, Beyond can help relax and destress you, then give you the right energy and motivation to push through!
These are all great approaches to personal improvement, but one of the factors we always consider is the others critiquing our performance. Remember one thing, you’re currently where you are because of one of two things. One, you’ve already proven yourself to be capable, you didn’t get to that level by pure coincidence, or two, you’re currently on the way to surpassing that, either with your newly growing skills or your graft towards being better. Your teammates, colleagues, or fellow creatives around you have given you a chance, but their input isn’t the be-all and end-all. Realise your worth and manifest your own PERSONAL acceptance, and then that winning mentality will come shortly after.
I found a quote from painter Walter Anderson that summarizes performance anxiety to a tee: “Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action”, and the other one, we should consider from Stormzy, “It’s not that deep”.