Anxiety and Arousal

Anxiety and Arousal

  • Trait and state anxiety
  • Sources of stress
  • Optimum arousal

Trait and State Anxiety

  • Trait anxiety is a state where a person feels threatened and anxious prior to and while experiencing specific events and situations.
  • The disposition often involves sweating of palms and hyperventilation.
  • Events that trigger trait anxiety differs from person to person.
  • Performance can be affected if trait anxiety is concurrent and at an elevated level.
  • State anxiety is the development of temporary and heightened emotions in response to a fearful or dangerous situation.
  • Decreases performance sometimes. For example, owing to state anxiety, a soccer player can miss a penalty.
  • Dispositions are both mental and physical.

Sources of Stress

  • Stress is a state of mind that is triggered when things don’t go as we anticipated.
  • Adrenaline rush is the most common disposition of stress which are visceral to an individual and not generally perceived by another individual include: high blood pressure, intense breathing, increased sweating and tightening of muscles.
  • Common stress triggers include:
    • Personal Pressure – A self imposed pressure from the desire of victory, proving one’s worth and to achieve lifelong goals.
    • Competition Pressure – Pressure experienced in a competitive arena by opponents.
    • Social Pressure – Extrinsic pressure triggered by peers including coaches and next of kins.
    • Physical Pressure – Experienced during a competition from having to showcase/perform a skill acquired after training and practice.

Optimum Arousal

  • A kind of anxiety, often physiological rather than psychological which is experienced just before a performance.
  • Performance is efficient when the arousal is optimum.
  • Parameters that measure arousal include: heart rate, respiration rate, muscle tension, skin temperature and brain wave activity.
  • Consists of two hypothesis:
    • The Inverted U Hypothesis
      • States that optimum performance is a result of balanced anxiety and arousal.
      • An arousal level too high or too low can lead to poor performance.
    • The Drive Theory
      • States that performance is directly proportional to arousal.
      • Focuses on the idea that a higher arousal level triggers maximum performance.