Better manage our ANXIETY!

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.

Are you AWARE?


To be high performing athletes, we have to be incredibly aware.  Aware of our position on the field, aware of what the opponent is doing, or aware of the situation going on around us.  Improved awareness is critical to the technical, tactical, and physical performance!  However, we often neglect the importance of awareness in helping us achieve a high level of success.  By being aware of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, we can learn to identify, evaluate, and perhaps change those elements that are essential for our performance.


Our own internal thoughts can be our best friend or our worst enemy.  However, in order for us to befriend our thoughts and use them strategically to help improve our performance, we must first become aware of the thoughts we have and their quality.  To do this, we can simply take note of our thoughts after a performance.  What was the content? Were they positive or negative? In what situation did they occur? Were they helpful or destructive?


Awareness of our emotional, as well as physical, feelings is especially helpful to our performance.  Becoming aware of when we become frustrated or anxious can help us to better understand the triggers that bring on these feelings, which allows us to establish a game plan for dealing with these emotions in the moment.  In addition, awareness of our physical state can allow us to increase our energy if we’re too relaxed, decrease our anxiety if we’re too panicky, and release muscle tension if we’re too tight.  However, without awareness we would have little knowledge of the physical state we are in before it is too late.


What behaviors do you engage in that yield the greatest success?  What things do you do that get in the way of you progressing? Awareness of what we do, why we do them, and their impact, can have huge implications for our performance.  Ultimately we want to do more of what makes us perform better and less of what makes us not.  Being aware of this helps us to make more informed and deliberate choices that can lead to better outcomes on and off the field.

Are you AWARE?