Of all the blog posts I did over the years, if I am only going to transfer ONE to this site – this is the one. Enjoy:
One of the greatest advantages in combat or highly stressful situations is to have a “calm mind.” A nice thing if you can pull it off, but for most people giving a presentation or taking a “big test” can cause a lot of stress.
The traditional way of dealing with this has been to train or practice a lot, visualize the worst-case scenario, and of course “thinking calming thoughts.” Even the Samurai used these techniques.
I just read an article published by the American Psychological Association that runs very counter to that opinion. Suggesting that trying to get to a “calm state of mind” and then failing will only cause MORE anxiety.
Harvard University recently did several studies and had participants giving speeches, doing math problems, and singing karaoke. They told the subjects to say or think either “I am excited” or “I am calm” (or be in one of the pathetic control groups).
While the “I am calm” people did better than the control groups, the “I am excited” people did noticeably better!
Apparently our body is easy to fool into thinking the “anxiety” is really just “excitement”. Golf, sparring, public speaking, etc. can all benefit from this!
Being totally low key and never being stressed over anything makes it impossible for me to try this… ; ) But I would love to hear from people that DID try it to see how it works for you!