There you are, the game is on the line, and you have the opportunity to win for your team. Suddenly, you become nervous about being nervous, anxious about being anxious. You are at the free throw line with the ball in hand, and you stumble to complete the shot because your muscles are frozen by the fear of failing. Game over..and you have CHOKED! This applies often to our weight loss journey. Getting so very close to goal, we sometimes let the possibility of success or failure get in the way of doing what we need to do.
Choking is a normal human reaction, a physiological response to a perceived psychological threat. Often this threat is “failure”. Let me say that again..a physiological response to a PERCEIVED psychological threat. We know that choking is nothing more than paying attention to your physiology when you should be focusing on the task.
One coping technique that can quickly defuse such perceived stressful moments, is to alter our breathing patterns. Without realizing it, many hold their breath when under stress. One psychologist describes anxiety as excitement “without the breath.” Oxygen is energy. It helps relax muscles and clear the mind. Have you ever noticed free-throw shooters who take a deep breath before every shot? They are breathing out the negativity and stress and breathing in relaxation. One mental coach of numerous professional athletes gives his players little stickers that read, “Breathe and Focus.” They place the stickers on their wrist bands and use them as a constant reminder to let go of the stress, to see every situation as an opportunity for success. They understand that they must be comfortable and relaxed to perform at their best.
When you find yourself in “perceived” stressful situations, do you allow yourself to become anxious about being anxious? Are you nervous that you might get nervous? I encourage you to remember that the stress is nothing more than a physiological response to a perceived threat. Use your breathing to focus your energy. Let your breath center your mind and body in the present moment. Learn to get comfortable with being uncomfortable! Change is like that. You have the power to see it as a situation to fear…… or an opportunity to succeed. You get to decide! Lean into and breathe through it!
I care, Barb