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Psyched Up

Psyched Up

by Daniel McGinn


623 reads


"In helping humans perform, psychology is the software, but biology is the hardware."


"To really make the most of the final moments before you perform, reducing anxiety isn’t enough. You also want to build positive emotions, such as confidence, self-efficacy, and power."

Leverage biology

The rush of fear and anxiety we feel before a big presentation or interview is caused by adrenaline being dumped into our system.

Originally quite helpful when confronted by a dangerous animal, in modern days we are stuck with the racing heart, sweaty palms, and frozen brain of th...

As a leader, you can help your teams achieve better results by introducing them to pre-performance routines.

  • Research shows that getting together to perform seemingly-silly ritual actions such as handclaps, foot stomps, and huddle-style “Let’s go!” before embarking...


  • Try one of these: have your team, colleagues, or worker-bees journal about their past successes before attempting today’s challenge. 
  • Frame reminders of past work on the walls. Take and share a photo of the team flush from a past success before they climb the next (metaphoric) mounta...

Before an important event:

  • Remind them why it’s important.
  • Tell them why you know they can do it.
  • Have them pause and think about what they have accomplished together.
  • Exhort them to go and do it.
  • Just don’t tell t...

Deal with performance anxiety by reappraising it

For example, one study compared the performances of people who said, “I’m so excited” vs. those who said “I’m so nervous” and those who said nothing before going on stage. The people who said they were excited, and thus reappraised anxiety to excitement, performed the best.

Why doe...

This is another essential technique in calming performance anxiety. You can center yourself by breathing deeply and concentrating on your breath while releasing all muscle tension.

Imagine all the energy in your body moving into one point, the belly button. Once it’s a...

Rituals can improve your performance

Regardless of what you choose to do before your performance, however, there is one thing that should always happen: consistency.

Studies back up the effectiveness of athletes’ routines before a game, for example. Athletes are aware of this and do what they can to prepar...

When it comes to performance, competition and rivalries are a great thing. Studies show that competition dramatically enhances performance.

The feeling we get when we are racing against others and someone is right on our tail drives us to do better, to prove ourselves. Cyclists do bette...

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