Anixety and your Plan to Win

Anixety and your Plan to Win

Doubt, fear, stress and dare I say…. Anxiety are at an ultimate high. 


There is no doubt COVID-19 has played a big role in driving these emotions, but is it really COVID-19? Or is it the people around us telling us what we can and can’t do, where we can and can’t go?  Everyone is different in how they react to situations, I get that… but I also get it’s also how we react to those emotions that determines if we are allowing these negative emotions to drive unproductive behaviors and allowing them to harm us, or if we are using them as productive behaviors, becoming a master over  emotions and allow them to help and promote our ability to succeed. 


So this begs the question. In this current culture, how do we play consistently at the upper ranges of our ability under pressure in the biggest moments?


This story is a great example of letting negative emotions control your life and shows how much anxiety, stress and fear can influence you for many years. 


“A forty year old man was mauled by a dog when he was young. In the incident, he lost part of his left ear and sustained deep wounds to his arms and chest. As a result, throughout his youth, he naturally avoided dogs.  


As a young father, he dreaded the day his children would ask for a dog. Once that day arrived, he decided it was time to go to therapy, but what could be done? 


Every time he saw a dog, his heart would pound. He would start to sweat profusely, clutch his chest and feel a sense of doom. This panic was once treated with medication that worked for a time, but excessively sedated him, making it hard for him to function on a day-to-day basis. 


The original accident happened when he was only two years old. His age hindered him from being able to logically explain to himself that it was a rare situation. He didn’t have the emotional intellect and as a result, he lived in constant fear of a dog attacking him again. 


When he was hurt, the part of his brain responsible for retaining that information made a mental note to equate dogs with emotional, mental and physical pain. If he was able to pinpoint this issue and deal with it when it occurred, he would be far less likely to be anxious at the site of a dog. Instead, the fear festered and continued to grow and influence his life. 


One day almost 3 decades later…


His children asked for a dog, the man learned to acknowledge the relevance of his past trauma and how it still influences him today. Ignoring the anxiety, stress and fear only harms the mental state more, weighing it down with illogical ideas and making it nearly impossible to “just deal with it” like this man wanted. He chose to acknowledge his anxiety and fear, and get a game plan so he decided to  speak logically to himself before or during interactions with the root of his anxiety (dogs). Over the next several months he worked on increasing his exposure to dogs, to the point where he could disassociate fear with dogs. Learning to be honest about his personal anxiety, stress and fear is the key to overcoming sensitivity to the situation. Once the root issue is identified, work on creating a new association or speaking positivity, rather than negative self talk. 


As the world continues to function with the new societal standards from COVID-19, anxiety, stress and fear will continue to rise. 


This father didn’t allow his anxiety to control his ability to provide a dog for his children. 


As an athlete, success is not found by letting anxiety, stress and fear affect the game. If anxiety is limiting us from reaching the upper ranges of our ability, we’re far less likely to help a team succeed or even find personal success. 


However, if we learn to engage our thoughts and energy into positive associations, we can play at the upper ranges of our ability consistently, even under pressure in the biggest moments.


Here are four coping strategies to help you play through your anxiety, stress, and fear:


#1. Be Aware of Your Anxiety

  • Don’t be distracted by your anxiety 

#2. Be Connected to Your Anxiety 

  • Speak positivity over it, don’t allow negative self talk 

#3. Find Insight into Your Anxiety

  • If you recognize where your anxiety is coming from, you can find your purpose 

#4. Understand Your Purpose and How Your Anxiety Affects It 

  • Don’t be in isolation and have a loss of purpose