May is filled with a plethora of holidays. As stated in one of my most recent blog posts, it is also Asian and Pacific Islander Month. It is Mental Health month too. Mental Health is a big factor in all things, but I think we dont think about it enough in terms of sports. Yes, we focus on nutrition and fitness and training. But it doesn't seem like there's enough focus on mental health. Particularly, I want to talk about performance anxiety. Sports performance anxiety is the physical and emotional reaction to the stress of performance.
We should focus on what stresses us and how to get through it not only for mental stability but more stress and nervousness can lead to more injuries. It's ok to be nervous and stress is a natural thing. There are just coping skills needed to deal with it effectively.
You can handle stress in a multitude of ways.
1) Positive Self Talk - You need to start speaking to yourself positively. Now, out doesn't mean you have to be Sunshine Sally and hide your emotions, but be able to look at the bigger picture. Think about what you are good at and what you can work on in a more compassionate light.
2) Music- Music helps. You need a song or two to put in your head to help distract you or help you put the words your mind. Even you free styling some moves or sitting and focusing on a song can help you.
3) Meditation- Meditation helps with focus and clearing your mind. Focusing on your breath and directing your attention inward can help you calm down.
4)Recognize that jitters are normal- It is ok to be nervous. It is a reaction to something stressful. Your body is working like it is supposed to. It is fine. It can even be helpful. Working to let go of your fear and accepting it as normal will really help you see your feelings to the other side.
5) Review and Recall things you do well. We tend overanalyze and be hyoerfocused on the things you did wrong. You did one move wrong, but you got the entire dance other than that.