Performance anxiety shows up when the stakes are high and need to achieve the greatest. Getting into business school with the GMAT or GRE, law school with the LSAT, competing as an athlete, auditions or recitals for musicians and dancers, and public speaking can create extreme pressure. Stress can impair your ability to achieve your personal best. Once performance anxiety sets in, your Amygdala releases stress hormones (cortisol), causing muscles to tighten, thoughts go negative, and breathing to change.
This all harms your ability to concentrate, relax and trust yourself. Goals then elude you even more and performance declines once fear to set in causing more anxiety and likely depression and procrastination.