There are four ways of dealing with Anxiety:
- Remove the source of anxiety – avoid the stress. This is a poor coping strategy. There is no growth in capability. There will always be a reduction of my performance levels when the stressor is present.
- Manage my level of anxiety – learn to auto-adjust down (relaxation techniques, visualisation) or up (“come on, fight this point! never back down!”)
- Tolerate anxiety – Accept the existence of the anxiety without it affecting my level of performance. I learn to co-exist with the anxiety.
- Enjoy the anxiety – Lean in to the stress! Accept the emotions and feel it 100% Some sports stars have learnt to deliver more than 100% in the most extreme situations – world cup final penalty, Ryder cup putt on the last green with the whole world watching.
This comes from work of Pep Mari. Pep is the head of psychology for the high performance athletics center that is part of the Spanish government’s plan to help create a generation of Olympic gold medal winners.
How do you deal with anxiety? Do you manage your stress levels? Are there any stresses that you have learnt to enjoy? How did you achieve this?