This article was published on The Huffington Post
It is never the feared situation itself that makes a person feel nervous, but it is the way in which the person thinks about it. In particular, people’s perceptions of control are really important in determining whether or not they will create anxiety about a particular scenario.
As famous psychologist Bandura (1988) stated:
“People who believe they can exercise control over potential threats do not conjure up apprehensive cognitions and, hence, are not perturbed by them. But those who believe they cannot manage potential threats experience high levels of anxiety arousal. They tend to dwell on their coping deficiencies and view many aspects of their environment as fraught with danger.”
So, when people feel skilful and in control in relation to a situation they don’t feel particularly nervous. There are two ways in which people can feel in control of potential challenges. Firstly, they can have a high sense of primary control, believing that they can prevent a potential difficulty from occurring. A person could, for example, be certain that they have the skills to complete an important work assignment on time. As a result, they do not worry about the possibility of not getting the work done, since they are sure that this event will not occur! People can also have a strong sense of secondary control, believing that even when a potential threat is outside their primary control, they have the skills and resources to respond positively, cope and bounce back. A person could, for example, be confident that if they were to be diagnosed with cancer they would manage and still be able to enjoy life. So, they do not worry about the possibility of having cancer.
To read more, click here to go to the original article on The Huffington Post