You Are In Control of You

As a world champion with four top-6 placements in the single outrigger canoe world sprints, I’ve had to put practices in place to manage anxiety that support both my inner world (voices inside my head, distractions, etc.) and outer world, to be ready at the starting line. These are practices I have developed with my work at The Taylor Group that come from a commitment to Vitality, rather than fear.

Whether your ‘starting line’ is at work, home, or an actual race, one key is to look at where your jitters are coming from. Being excited about what is to come? Fear of failing or not enough? Maybe both?  The anxious/excited feeling is often easy to contain with simple practices such as breathing, and reminding yourself of the joy of engaging in your sport, profession, or any other activity you engage in.

That said, fear and anxiety may need a bit more practice and skill to overcome, since as humans we are hard-wired for survival. This hard-wiring goes way back to when our ancestors had to survive amongst the saber-tooth tigers.  Fortunately the tigers are not around anymore. However, we still have thoughts and feelings that may come up from the past that create fearful situations, and the physical response is the same as if we are staring down the tigers!

Not only are humans wired for survival (which in the right situation is VERY important) we are also wired with amazing abilities. Each person is able to control the mind stream by being in the space between our thoughts and feelings. This takes training and awareness, incorporating both mental and physical practices, but anyone can do them. Below are some hints on how to prepare yourself, inside and out:

  • Get adequate sleep and proper nutrition.
  • Practice meditation daily.
  • Practice visualization. Imagine how you want things to go. See yourself being able to perform optimally in all situations and do this daily.
  • Create a warm up and cool down that prepares you mentally and physically.
  • Stay connected to your Why…..Why are you engaging in this activity?  What about it is important to you?
  • Breathing from your diaphragm is a great practice to implement regularly to support optimizing your oxygen flow, engaging your core and also bringing your body into a calmer state.
  • Breathing and adding a positive emotion, such as joy, can help with calming the mind and body at the moment.
Most of all, know you have done the best you can, implemented the practices that work for you, and remember that you are in control of you.