Everyone in any physical activity where the outcome - the result - is important to you knows the anxiety that comes with performance before a big event. It may be competitive - before a match or a race.
It may be in the outdoors - like running a big rapid or climbing a rock face where there is real physical consequence.
I had a friend who would be sick before every big water polo match he played.
Can’t have been good - even just from a nutrition / energy point of view.
You can do the same thing in practice a million times, but the pressure of the event changes everything.
I don't need to tell you that controlling anxiety is essential for any performance.
And it’s the same process if it’s a presentation at work.
Or dealing with the memories of a past event - flashbacks - that keep coming back to you, accompanied by feelings like guilt or regret.
The way to get anxiety under control is ultimately to be completely and utterly present.
To not go into the future (or past for that matter).
To not engage the “what ifs” and the “what happened before’s”.
To be as physically present as possible.
Inhabit your senses as much as you can - engage your environment as it is in order to disengage the thinking mind.
Deep breathing is a huge help - because when you get anxious your breath gets shallower and shallower and your heart rate goes up and up.
Certain yogic breathing techniques reverse those physical responses - especially when you catch them early - AND give you something to shift your attention to.
It’s ultimately distracting yourself from thinking and then feeling the overwhelm.
The feelings all come from the thoughts about it.
The BIG secret though is to practice when the going is easy.
Master shifting your attention and being super present in daily life -
- and it will be a thousand times easier when the pressure is on.
But it’s the one thing so many athletes don’t do.
If you never practice focus and attention when you’re mooching around the house, how can you expect to switch it on when you need to?
A practical meditation practice will give you that ability.
Think of it as a kind of fitness.
When you signed up to this email list I gave you a link to one such super simple meditation practice.
How is that going?
Here’s the link again.
If you want more -
I’d like to talk you through some meditation and some yogic breathing skills -
As well as the right attitude and ways of thinking to maximise coping with anxiety and stress.
So you can get rid of as many barriers and interferences to great results and enjoyment as possible.
And so I’m putting on a seminar to do just that.
Want a seat?
It’s on Next Wednesday 26th October, in Darlington. 7.30-9pm
Otherwise practice well!
Let me know if you need any help with that.
You can’t go wrong - practice a few simple things, and every aspect of your life benefits, not just your ability to deal with anxiety.
Here you go: