Math anxiety can seem overwhelming. If you feel the tension and anxiety every time you have to do math, then there are steps you can take to overcoming that anxiety. The usually happens if you struggle with math. However, with time, it can become automatic as we become conditioned to expect it and we don't even realize what is happening. After that, the anxiety can, itself, make math even harder than it should be. The anxiety prevents us from being realistic about it, thinking clearly, and problem solving. Getting rid of math anxiety, or at least reducing it, is essential and there are steps you can take to do that.
To help reduce math anxiety, imagine yourself being successful at math. Imagery can go a long way to changing those ingrained beliefs of failure that feed into anxiety. Concentrate on those positive images. Use that imagery on a regular basis. Use it at least weekly or multiple times a week. It may take a while to ingrain itself in your mind, but it will work.
Practice relaxation techniques. Math anxiety can actually make math harder because it causes so much tension that we cannot concentrate or think clearly. Then, because the math is harder, it feeds even more tension It is a vicious cycle that feeds on itself. You can stop that cycle when you use relaxation techniques that stop the tension and anxiety. One way to do that is to take a few deep breaths where you breath in deeply and then exhale slowly.
Change your strategies for learning math and studying for math tests. If you find yourself staring at the book or the teacher and not grasping the material, they using a different style of learning. Seeing, hearing, saying, writing, etc. can be helpful. Also, space out your studying time to help remember information better. It is also better to go to someone other than your teacher for tutoring. Everyone has a different way of explaining things and it is helpful to hear it from someone different.
Use self-talk to tell yourself that you will be successful. We all have those things that we tell ourselves in our mind. If we have been unsuccessful at math and it is causing anxiety, then our voice might be saying that we can't do it or that it will be too hard. Again, it may take time, but practice telling yourself over and over that you are going to be able to do math. Talk your way through math problems telling yourself that it will be okay and that you will be successful.
Try doing math for fun. What? Fun? Yes! We too often only associate math with school and exams and not getting the right answer. However, we struggle through crossword puzzles, yet it is okay if we don't get all the answers. It is still the fun of the challenge to try for many people. Even if we are not good spellers or don't have a huge vocabulary, we still try. Do the same with math. Start out with Sudoku puzzles or simple number games. Associating math and numbers with something positive will help to reduce math anxiety.