Sometimes, fear and anxiety can get the best of us in sports. The key is to know how to manage that fear and anxiety. Following are some techniques that athletes can use to help manage their fears and everyday anxieties.
Occasionally, you may become stressed when you have to perform in an important event. When this happens, visualize yourself doing the task in your mind. For instance, you have to perform in the championship game in front of a large group of people in the next few days. Before the big day comes, imagine yourself performing. Self-visualization is a great way to reduce the fear and stress of a coming situation.
Sometimes we get stressed when everything happens all at once. When this occurs, a person should take a deep breath and try to find something to do for a few minutes to get their mind off of the problem. A person could read the newspaper, listen to some music or do an activity that will give them a fresh perspective on things right before their event.
Another technique that is very helpful is to have a small notebook of positive statements that you can carry around with you. Whenever you come across an affirmation that makes you feel good, write it down in a small notebook that you can carry around with you. Whenever you feel stressed, open up your small notebook and read those statements. This will help to manage your negative thinking.
Focus on how you can best strive for perfection instead of worrying about your opponent. For instance, you are going against the No. 1 player in the tournament and you are nervous. Instead of focusing on how good your competition is, focus on how you can do your best.
In every anxiety-related situation you experience, begin to learn what works, what doesn't work and what you need to improve on in managing your fears and anxieties. For instance, you have a lot of anxiety and you decide to take a small walk before your event to help you feel better. The next time you feel anxious you can remind yourself that you got through it the last time by taking a walk. This will give you the confidence to manage your anxiety the next time around.
Take advantage of the help that is available. If possible, talk to a professional who can help you manage your fears and anxieties. This person will be able to provide you with additional advice and insight on how to deal with your current problem. Remember that it never hurts to ask for help.
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, visit the Web site at www.managingfear.com.