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Feeling Stressed? 5 Ways to Ease Anxiety Before a Big Event

You’re thinking about a big WOD or an upcoming event and all of a sudden you’re sweating and your stomach is turning. You’re feeling a little nervous and anxious. Have you ever been there? When even the thought of something can get you all worked up?

When you’re getting ready for something that you consider important, like a competition, race or big presentation, your body will begin to react and send you signs that it is ‘getting ready.’ Some people feel these signs and view them as negative, doubtful or fearful. Learn how to better prepare for events that are bringing you stress, so that you can perform better under pressure.

Ways to Ease Anxiety

1. Control How You Interpret Stress.

Physical signs (sweating, rapid heart rate, feeling like you have to pee, jitters) can be interpreted in two different ways and can produce very different reactions.You decide how you view these feelings:

If you view your feelings as negative and threatening, it will clearly hurt your performance or ability to act confidently. Instead, put a positive spin on it. Those feelings are an indication that you’re getting prepared for a big event; the feeling is not anxiety but rather excitement. Decide that it’s going to be fun, an adventure and that your nerves are a good thing that energize you and help you do your best.

2. Practice Steadying Your Breath.

Focus on your breathing to become more centered, calm, focused and prepared. You always have this strategy in your toolbox whenever you need it, wherever you are. You just have to learn to use it. Try this:

Count to yourself “1, 2, 3” as you inhale so the breath lasts about 3 long seconds then say “one.” Then count “1, 2, 3” as you exhale and say “two.” Continue to count “1, 2, 3,” stating the round aloud with each inhale and exhale. 10 rounds of this technique usually helps me.

3. Share Your Feelings

Bounce your fears, worries, doubts and struggles, off of others. You’ll find immediate relief in your ‘stress’ as you share your concerns:

– Let your coaches, loved ones, or coworkers know how you’re feeling and what you may be concerned about. You might even just say ‘Damn, I’m feeling anxious, I don’t know what’s gotten in to me,’ and that will ease your level of tension.

4. Give Yourself a Pep Talk.

Depending on the situation, your pep talks are going to be different. Always take a few minutes to remind yourself of why you are doing what you’re doing and how you want to act. Before you do anything important, remind yourself of your intentions, purpose and desires for the event.

Try something like this: ‘I’m so thankful for this opportunity. I am prepared and ready for this. Stay present, calm, and loose. This is easy. Once I get going, it’s going to feel so good’.

Instead of continuing to let yourself say, ‘Oh god, this is so stressful. I’m freaking out. This is crazy,” you can say things that are more helpful. Practice with different self-talk and see what works best for you.

5. Take The Pressure Off.

Smile, laugh and remind yourself that nothing needs to go “perfectly.” Maybe you just need to joke around.

Think of how you’ll respond if you slip-up, and remind yourself to laugh at your mistakes. You can always let others know that you may be a little nervous, but that you’ll get through it this always seems to lighten the mood and take the pressure off.