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Performance stress is a real issue! Learn how to deal with it and seal it!

19 Feb 2017

Young adulthood is a time when an individual struggles to keep up with all the demands in life. There is a constant pressing requirement of performing in all aspects of life be it academics, work or relationships. When these demands for performance exceed beyond the capacity of the individual, stress occur which eventually builds resulting in adverse conditions.

Armaan was a 21 years old boy studying engineering. He had always been extraordinary with academics in school, cracked one of the most difficult entrance examinations and secured himself a seat in the most prestigious institutes of the country. He was a very good singer too and played guitar extremely well. Armaan was robust and confident and belonged to a well to do family. Everything was perfect in Armaan’s world. However, things took a rough turn with increasing expectations and demands from the educational system, the family and the society altogether. Armaan’s grades began falling, his guitar lay all dusty and he started to become terrified of going to classes. He started neglecting his hygiene and eating habits, locked himself up in his room all day skipping classes and tests. His mouth will get dry, his heart would start pounding, and palms would sweat as he remembered how his professors mock him of being a loser, how would his mother feel when she will know that her son couldn’t finish his degree or how is he ever going to make things right. His friends would say that he gets all agitated and irritated all the time. Soon, he succumbed to methamphetamine and other drugs. After some time, Armaan’s parents took him back to home and he stayed there for a month. Then he decided to go back to college and make a fresh start. As soon as he stepped in his college, all his troubles refreshed. His sweaty palms returned as he remembered all the assignments that needs to be done, the course he needs to be covered to make up for his grades and all the humiliation he will have to face. So, Armaan made one decision for himself.
That evening, Armaan met all his friends, cleared all the debts he had on him and said goodbye because he is leaving college and going home. Then, instead of taking the autorickshaw to home, he took the elevator to the roof on 12th floor. He stood on the railing, feeling the soft summer breeze on his neck and sometime later his world went blank.

Every year, hundreds of Armaans meet their fate as they capitulate under extreme performance stress. If this performance stress was taken care of, Armaan could have been still among us. 

Source of performance stress among young adults
1. Academic performance
2. Work performance (heavy workload)
3. Financial performance
4. Traumatic/ major life changes
5. Familial expectations
6. Societal expectations
7. Cultural expectation
8. Overestimating individual’s aptitude
9. Striving to work on relationships 
10. Tendency to worry excessively and/or irrationally

Signs and symptoms 
1. Irritability and agitation
2. Sense of loneliness and isolation
3. Depression or general unhappiness
4. Memory issues
5. Inability to concentrate on things
6. Poor judgment
7. Negative, anxious or racing thoughts
8. Constant irrational worrying

9. Showing physical signs of stress at anticipation or on facing the stressful demands like palpitation, excessive sweating, dry throat and mouth, hot or cold flushes, nausea, dizziness

9. Sleep disturbances
10. Appetite disturbances
11. Neglecting hygiene and other responsibilities
12. Nervous gestures (eg. nail biting)

Consequences of performance anxiety

Consequences need not be as dire as Armaan’s but chronic or acute performance stress can affect your well being by and large.
1. Decrement in performance further
2. Low self esteem
3. Self blame
4. Relationships problems
5. Development of physical problems due to improper sleep, nutrition and neglect of hygiene
6. Depression
7. Alcohol or drug abuse
8. Suicide

How do you manage performance stress?

Say NO to excessive workload: Consider that important course in another semester or refuse the extra load of work if it is too much for you even if you need the money. Nothing is more important than your well being. Also, taking up more work than you can handle will only affect your performance adversely.

Take care of the situation: You can’t always avoid the stressors. In such cases face the stressor with more assertion and deal with problems head on. Instead of bottling up your feelings and increasing your stress, respectfully let others know about your concerns. Or be more willing to compromise and try meeting others halfway on an issue. 

Look at the positive aspects: A stressor might affect you in unwelcoming ways but there will always be something positive. If you hate your job, think about what you would do if you didn’t have the money your job is paying you. If you hate your studies, think about how studying some more will get you a decent job and all settled.

Acceptance: Some situations can’t be change. It is best to acknowledge that and then make your exit plans. If you think you don’t have mathematical aptitude, there is no point of fight for the engineering schools and increase your performance load. Consider a career which suits your aptitude. Acceptance of the situation will make things less stressful too. Everyone can’t be best at everything.

Good physical health: Having a strong physical health can buffer the stress to a great extent. Exercise regularly( Exercising produces a hormone endorphins in your brain which reduces stress and its scientifically proven), eat healthily, get enough sleep and add some relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing, scented candles, long warm shower, relaxation music activate the body’s relaxation response.

Engage is quick relaxing techniques: Simple they may sound but they are effective. Backwards counting, remembering a happy memories or looking at a cherished picture, remembering a good meal or sniffing you favorite perfume, squeezing a stress ball, putting on some music, cuddling your pet, all of these can help you bat stressor at that moment and you can buy yourself time to prepare yourself from more stressors.

Get support: Social support is important. Talk to family, friends and relevant people that things are too much for you, how you feel. It is not being weak if you do that. In fact you are courageous enough to speak things up. If your social support is not very strong then go for professional help. Psychotherapy and counseling will help you with your performance stress.

The quicker you act and better and speedier recovery it will be. Early help and invention might save you a lot of your and other’s time and energy and more importantly a lot of hassle. 


You must seek professional help at the comfort of your own house, at your own convenient time and even in your pyjamas at the most affordable cost. is completely online.


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Tags: performance anxiety, stress, depression, well being. success