How Pro Athletes Deal With Anxiety

My Take Aways From: How Pro Athletes Deal With Anxiety by Kevin Gray

How Pro Athletes Deal With Anxiety

How Pro Athletes Deal With Anxiety by Kevin Gray (Men’s Journal May 2013)

Here are the key points I took away from this article by Kevin Gray:

  • “Nervousness is your friend. It’s a normal reaction to an important moment in your life.” – JoAnn Dahlkoetter Stanford Medical Center Sport Psychologist
  • Anxiety is basically an adrenaline dump, your body’s fight-or-flight response.
  • This natural response goes off the rails when the body gets run down or is already ridden with stress.
  • Hangovers are a known trigger for panic attacks: a heavy night of drinking can lead to fatigue, dehydration, too much caffeine, and not enough food.
  • Stress is the most common trigger.
  • The most effective way to inhibit their internal fears and fend off a panic attach is to breathe.
  • Full blown panic attacks occur when there is an imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide
  • Slow deep breathing gets much-needed oxygen to the brain.
  • “Square Breathing” – breathe in deeply on a count of four and then exhale completely on a count of four, repeating three or four times. The key is to exhale all the way because you can’t take in air unless you completely empty out your lungs.
  • Mental visualization also helps: see yourself doing exactly what needs to be done. (ie., the tennis strokes you’ll use, your approach shots, your line game, etc.). But also visualize distractions, upsets, and other scenarios.
  • Anxiousminds.org is a website created by Royce White to educate anxiety sufferers.

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