Math anxiety, as with most anxieties relating to performance, can come about when an individual becomes concerned about whether they will be good enough. This particular fear tends to establishes itself when we are children, and the worry about how we compare to our peers at any given subject at school tends to be paramount during our early years. Math is treated as a major subject in itself, therefore most students want to do well, or at least be on a similar level of competence as their friends in this area.
If we have experienced a fear of not achieving success at math as children, we are likely to carry this anxiety into adulthood. At times we may turn our fear into a belief, assuming that we have no mathematical ability whatsoever, which makes us shy away from the subject and tense up at its mere mention.
There may be many reasons why our anxiety became a mountain. Perhaps we were afraid of our math teacher, or were unfavourably compared to our siblings. Whatever the reason was, it may have left us with a feeling that math is an area that is a blot on our intelligence landscape that we need to overcome.
The place to begin overcoming math anxiety is to realise that we have probably made our fears larger by giving them more significance than they deserve. Being good or bad at math doesn't mean that we are super intelligent or a failure. Math is important if we want to be a mathematician, naturally. However, not having significant mathematical skills in life will not hold us back. Especially if we can operate a calculator!
The next point to consider is that the nature of anxieties are that they tend to cloud our vision and create an inner panic. Sometimes it is this panic which prevents us from moving forward rather than our actual ability. By learning how to relax and take learning math in our stride, taking small steps at our own pace, can help immensely.
When we feel panic our senses are overwhelmed. To reduce this feeling it is necessary to isolate each step that we take from the rushing thoughts of insecurity within our minds. Don't be afraid to begin again, from the basics of math, if learning is what you wish to achieve.
There is no need to feel ashamed, or to compare your level of knowledge or ability so far to anyone else's. So what if you can't do math at the moment? Perhaps you are a great conversationalist or a movie buff. We are all good at different things. Feel grateful for the abilities that you do have, and take some pressure about math off of yourself.
Once you lighten your emotional load concerning math anxiety you will be better able to see the wood from the trees, and to move forward if you want to.