The best way to psych yourself up for a test or presentation is to make it seem insignificant. Here's how:How do you gear yourself up for a big test, an important presentation, or any other high-pressure situation? Maybe your internal monologue goes something like this: “OK, this is really important. A lot is riding on this. Don’t screw this up. How well I do on this really matters.” Reminding yourself of the high stakes makes intuitive sense as a motivational strategy—but it will actually impede your performance. Instead of spurring you to new heights, it’s likely to increase anxiety and undermine your confidence. Research shows that reminding yourself how unimportant the event is in the big scheme of things is a better tactic, and psychologists have come up with a variety of ingenious ways to help us do so.
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