Being distressed is a matter of fact before the competitions. Having a big game ahead is not a new feeling for an experienced athlete, but still many of them have problems coping with a sudden strike of anxiety. The fear of disapproval is the main reason behind performance anxiety but not only in athletes. Plenty of other professionals anticipate public performance as a potential threat to their career in case their presentation went wrong. Psychologists offer two tactics to overcome performance anxiety before a big event – meditation and guided imagery.
The key to success during meditation is the ability to relax body and mind. Giving a rest to one’s thoughts allows destroying all gloomy images that emerge in our subconscious. Meditation starts a couple of weeks before the game. The procedure requires an athlete sitting in a comfortable chair for 15-20 minutes a day with their eyes closed. During the session, the athlete visualizes their stomach as a bright air balloon where their anxiety rises and falls. At the same time, the athlete imagines their daily performance situation with the positive end. Every piece of their performance, like their breathing, is under control now.
Visualizing a positive performance is a good way to combat negative thinking. Focusing on their breathing, athletes dismiss negative images and realize that they do not have to think about everything that enters their head. Thus, negative thinking is like negative performance – we can control it as far as we try hard enough.