Anxiety! The dreaded spilling over disease! Anxiety is a common psychological concern that is often characterized as intense worry that is difficult to control, as well as uncomfortable physical sensations, such as muscle tension, jitteriness, and rapid heart rate. Anxiety can happen for a few reasons. Some of us are just naturally more anxious as people. Maybe are parents are anxious and they passed down some anxious traits. In other cases, the environment that we are in can make us anxious. For instance, having the stress of athletics, school, and social life can lead us to feel stressed and, if not dealt with properly, incredibly anxious. In fact, anxiety is one of the most common mental/psychological concerns that student-athletes face. Hence, in this week’s blog, I want to share a few simple tips to better manage your anxiety.
1) Connect with the breath – If you have been following the blog, by now you should have realized how often we mention engaging in deep breathing. The reason why breathing is so helpful is because it releases physical tension from the body, slows down the mind, and allows you to focus on being in the moment. Whenever you are feeling anxious, just focus on slowing down your breath, and let the tension melt away.
2) Stay in the now – Oftentimes when we are anxious we are overly focused on future stressors or past regrets. In either case, our anxiety takes us from the current moment. In times of stress reconnect to the current moment and simply focus on the task directly in front of you. You can identify this by stating “What’s Important Now?” (W.I.N.). After you’ve taken care of whatever is most pressing, then you can move onto the next thing. Make sure to stay right in the moment and don’t get too far ahead of yourself.
3) View stress differently – Anxiety can be awfully uncomfortable and distressing, especially when it becomes too much to handle. As a result, we start over focusing on our anxiety and try to force it away. Instead of doing this, try to accept your anxiety rather than fighting it. B gently accepting and acknowledging your stress, you take away its power. Appreciate that there is a lot on your plate right now and that feeling stressed is OK and normal. Realize that as long as you connect with the breath, identify what’s important now, and take care of what you need to, the rest can fall into place.
We will never completely get rid of stress and anxiety. The goal is learn to manage it more effectively. By practicing these three simple tips you can learn to take control of anxiety, rather than it taking control of you.