Nervous before competition!

Tennis Balls

Deal with Anxiety – NOW! 

Before we start I would like you to think of what it means to be “anxious” in a very particular way. Dilligently and as a patient observer, You are going to take an inventory. By doing this you will develop a powerful sense of self awareness which you can then utilize to be your own mental skills coach. Paper. Pen. To start with, write the following inventory down. Your target is to be able to internalize this process and use it for multiple situations.

Inventory: Anxiety,- to be anxious 

1. Identify Context: Think of a specific context in which you have experienced or are currently experiencing what you recognise as “Anxiety”.

2. Posture/Physiology listing: Describe in sensory detail (Leave judgments and evaluations out) the posture or position you are in when you are doing “anxiety “ in your chosen context. Include a Note on Breathing Rate – this very important…is the breathing shallow, deep , erratic etc. 

3. Sensation Listing : List the location of the anxiety sensation in your body. Be specific and leave evaluations out (EXAMPLE- NOT “its a bad feeling inside” BUT instead, -“ its a cold heavy feeling in my lower abdomen)

4. Visual Field Listing: What do you notice about your visual perception. Wide field/tunnel vision? Sharp Colours/dull colours? Etc. Notice what you notice about what you see.

5. Auditory field Listing: What do you notice about your auditory perception AND production. How clearly are you hearing, what noises are you making?(speech, scratching etc) Notice what you notice about what you hear.

6. Observe and Change: One by one adjust/play with/totally mess with every single item on your list until you register a change you are happy with. Whatever it is now – change it somehow until it improves your state. If Changing one particular item is not easy or has no effect, move on and find one that does. My advice is start from your breathing and posture then move on. Revise, practice, continually improve and adopt your new changed list. I suggest that you do useful things all the time and running this inventory system on your personal states is to be one of the most useful things you can do to increase your emotional intelligence. In subsequent posts I will give you this same process ( sometimes in different guises) over and over again as it is simple and effective. It will also get you away from concepts that suggest your own unique brand of Anxiety can be measured by a psychologist/coach/parent/friend and quantified for severity. Only you know how proper your anxiety is and whether it carries a message for you . Use the inventory, – get close to the feelings you own.