In part 1, we discussed the main causes of approach anxiety.
In this article, we’ll dive a little deeper and get to understand anxiety better.
Everyone experiences anxiety to some degree. Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Oprah Winfrey- everyone regardless of fame or social standing feels anxiety.
Its really isn’t about whether someone has anxiety or not- Oprah could have more anxiety than you- she just chooses to respond to it better.
Research has show that people respond and perform best under situations that produce anxiety. Thats what is meant when you hear the phrase “He performs well under pressure.”
On the other hand, people also perform at their worst under anxiety.
So why does this happen?
The difference between people who perform well under pressure and those who perform horribly in the face of anxiety comes down to their individual perception of their abilities.
If you are confident in you skills and experience in a particular area, you will most likely perfrom well under pressure.
A person who has built up a strong foundation of positive experiences and positive anxiety patterns in addition to being confident in their skills will respond even better in anxiety inducing situations.
A person with negative experiences and negative anxiety experiences will perform worse regardless of their skill under pressure.
Examples of positive anxiety patterns:
-Experiences increased focus
-Enjoys the challenge at hand
Example of negative anxiety patterns:
- Freezing up
- Avoids challenge
- Overwhelmed by mental chatter
We all experience different patterns depending on the situation we are in. For instance, some of us who are skilled at a particular sport, the prospect of competition may elicit positive anxiety patterns.
You may have also experienced this when you were younger in schoool and your teacher asked a question to which only you knew the answer. That rush, the spike in energy and adrenaline is comparable to the feelings a person gets when experiencing positive anxiety.
What you should not do to overcome Approach Anxiety
I’ve been to pick up bootcamps, I’ve spend thousands of dollars on high priced dating products. I can tell you right now that most “methods” don’t work.
The three main ways that men try to overcome approach anxiety are through:
- Jumping straight into the deep end of the pool:
This is the typical method used by many dating instructors/pick up coaches on their bootcamps. You are thought a few skills, then promptly made to mass approach women while they apply pressure on you until you final achieve something which resembles “success”.
There is a lot of adrenaline,usually a personality cult around the instructor, and pressure to perform.
Some men actually come away from these high pressure, intense bootcamps feeling that they have had a breakthrough. In the week or weeks following the bootcamp, they may experience increased success while approaching women and even a feeling of invincibility.
Sadly, this is short lived, as the consistent effort required to build true confidence in this area was never done.
Many men become addicted to bootcamps and new pickup programs, always feeling a need to get that temporary confidence boost.
- Mental Masturbation:
Many men read and consume an incredible amount of material on dating and overcoming anxiety. This simply doesn’t work, because you can’t think your way out of anxiety.
Its 10% theory and 90% action.
- Esoteric Exercises:
More recently, I’ve started to see women show up to “coach” men out of their introversion or approach anxiety using a variety of spiritual and esoteric techniques, which do not work.
These approaches simply prey on inexperienced men who are looking for a quick fix.
No amount of visualization will make your approach anxiety go away.
Creating Positive Anxiety Patterns
There is only one way to create positive anxiety habits and that is by slowly building them up by creating situations with many small, consistent successes in a row.
Yes, this will require you to actually go out in public and expose yourself, as well as create situations where you can practice positive anxiety patterns.
Understand that anxiety can only be mastered through action and emotion- not through intellectual understanding.
Your Emotions and Anxiety
As men, most of us tend to deal with out problems in a logical, rational manner. The reason why we fall short with anxiety is because anxiety is extremely irrational- for that reason alone, any rational approach to working on it will fail.
The key to adapting well to your anxiety is to understand your emotional responses thoroughly and then transform those into useful behaviors and habits.
There are four main emotional responses anxiety which we will cover in the final part of this series.