How to overcome your anxiety before a competition?
Written by: Loris Vitry (coach and Yoga teacher)
Validated by: Cathy Maillot (Osteopath)
Caution: If you have any medical questions or concerns, please speak to your doctor. Even if the articles on this site are based on scientific studies, they do not replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Competition forces us to rub shoulders with others.
It is one of the best ways to improve yourself.
However, it also remains a major vector of fear and stress.
In this article, we will see how to effectively fight against this fear.
The fear of competition, where does it come from?
Fear, in general, manifests itself in a situation of danger.
It can be real or imaginary.
Sometimes, we are not aware of it: we do not know that it motivates our actions.
It is deep in our subconscious.
Biologically, fear and its mechanisms aim to push you to avoid dangerous situations.
But, here it is, the competition is not a situation of real danger.
It can even help raise you, in your community, to the top of what can be called the hierarchy of dominance.
So why does it breed fear?
Competition involves struggles.
Struggles that grant victories.
But which can also afflict failures.
The fear of competition is linked, in most cases, to a fear of failing or to a previously experienced unpleasant situation that we drag throughout our lives.
In the subconscious, these failures or situations are linked to any similar events that arise.
This is to avoid unpleasant surprises and stay in your comfort zone.
Also, we sometimes idealize the other competitor and we make ourselves very small in front of him.
As in the animal kingdom, the image that the other returns sometimes has the result of discouraging us, even before the fight.
To get out of this situation, we must take the appropriate measures and apply them patiently.
Regain full confidence in yourself
We cannot say it enough.
Faith lifts mountains.
Self-confidence is a cure for many ailments.
To be confident in your abilities, you must first know them.
You have to know yourself to be able to have confidence in yourself: to know your strengths and also your weaknesses, but above all not to be self-conscious about them.
Everyone has weaknesses.
Confidence drives action, without fear.
And conversely, when you are courageous enough to carry out an action that leads to success, you gain self-confidence.
By self-confidence, we are not necessarily referring to a state of complete bliss.
A total absence of doubt or fear.
You may still have a slight trepidation.
But the main thing is to take action, without procrastinating.
In the face of feared situations, or actions that one seeks to avoid, the faculties of the human brain to find good reasons can be surprising.
It’s about that moment when “a little voice” whispers very good reasons not to act.
But it is at this very moment that we must not listen to ourselves.
You have to do violence to yourself and get out of your comfort zone.
There is absolutely no need to be afraid of the change that you could make or of the “new person” that you could become by acting and expressing your capacities.
Consciously or not, it happens that we avoid any action that could endanger anonymity for a very long time cultivated.
Right now, even when you say you want to act and take the risk of competing with others, you sabotage yourself.
Strangely, we find ourselves acting against our own interests.
This comes in large part from the fact that the intellectual processes that give rise to these actions remain in “self-piloting”.
We must regain control.
Actions must be taken consciously.
View failure another way
What can hold a person back and reinforce their fear of competition is the fear of failure.
A very sure way not to fail is to never try anything and always steer clear of any opportunity to expose yourself.
Some people think this way.
Others act this way without thinking about it.
For this type of people, previous failures have confirmed their reasoning.
Nonetheless, in order to break free and embrace the different challenges, one must envision failure and see it differently.
Fear should be seen as a learning tool.
It’s true that it’s easy to say and harder to do.
Especially in societies which throw stones at those who fail.
But, seen this way, one has the ability to put aside emotions, get up and move on with more experiences.
Real failure is when you stand still and never do anything to stand out.
Now, let’s tackle what one might take to be the most important point in addressing the fear of competition: the other.
The person in front of you in a competition may seem like the thing to focus on.
But in truth, everything starts from oneself.
And once you’ve worked enough on yourself, the important thing is done.
The rest is not negligible, but it is not in your control either.
What we generally do and which in passing reinforces the fear of failure and competition, is to observe the other.
But in the wrong way.
We look at the image that the other, with whom we want to compete, sends back to the world.
This image, we compare it, not with the image that we send back to the world, but with our interior.
The image that we are perhaps alone in knowing of ourselves.
What results is that one ignores the weaknesses, insecurities and doubts of the other.
It then seems stronger than it is.
Fear of competition is one of the best ways to develop complete lethargy.
Especially in this competitive and dynamic world that is ours.
Fear of competition, like any other long-established habit, will take time to be overcome.
You will therefore have to be patient with yourself.
But once overcome, self-confidence and perseverance take place and success will be there.