(First of two articles)
Our worries and anxieties can overwhelm us at times. In addition, they can distort our perception of what is reality and what isn’t. Now that the track and field season is in high gear, here are a few techniques that athletes can use to help gain a better perspective on things during anxious moments.
Sometimes stress come on when everything happens all at once. In such case, the athlete should take a deep breath and try to find something to do for a few minutes to get his/her mind off the problem. Read the newspaper, listen to music or engage in an activity that will give fresh perspective on things. This is a great technique for the athlete to use right before his/her event.
Fearful thoughts are exaggerated and can worsen problems. A good way to manage worries is to challenge negative thinking with positive statements and realistic thoughts. When encountering thoughts that brew fear or anxiety, athletes can challenge those thoughts by asking themselves questions that will maintain objectivity and common sense.
Remember that all the worrying in the world will not change anything. Most of what we worry about never becomes reality anyway. Instead of worrying about something that may not happen, the athlete should concentrate on what he/she is able to do.
Power of Positive Reinforcement
Another helpful technique for athletes is to keep a small notebook of positive statements handy. Whenever the athlete comes across an affirmation that makes him/ her feel good, write it in that notebook. Whenever the athlete feels stressed before an event, open that notebook and read the statements. This will help manage negative thinking.
All anxiety-related experiences should be used to learn what works and what doesn’t, as well as what needs to be improved. For instance, the athlete who feels much anxiety before his/her event may decide to take a walk to feel better. The next time that athlete becomes anxious, he/she will be reminded of how taking a walk helped in that prior situation. This will surely boost confidence to manage anxiety the next time around.
Seek Professional Help
Athletes should take advantage of any help available around them. If possible, they should talk to a professional who can help manage their fears and anxieties. Professionals will be able to provide additional advice and insights into how to cope with problems. By talking to professionals also, athletes will help themselves in the long run because they will become better able to deal with problems. It never hurts to ask for help.
It is not easy to handle all of our fears and worries. When they get the best of you, try to calm down and focus on the facts of the situation. The key is to take it slowly, do your best each day, and when something does happen, take it in stride. Take it one step at a time and things will work out.
NEXT: Do Not Stress Over the Competition
Stan Popovich is the author of “A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non-Resistant Methods” – an easy-to-read book that presents a general overview of techniques that are effective in managing persistent fears and anxieties. For additional information go to: http://www.managingfear.com/