Why we burn out at a critical moment and how to avoid it.
Why is it that someone makes a super result in training and burns completely in a competition? Or why someone is a super good performer in front of their team but can’t speak when they have to do the same thing in front of TV cameras or an audience of 200. Or the anxiety of the exams, which is known to everyone, if you have to answer your turn, it is almost empty and not a word comes out of your mouth, or it is not a familiar feeling. You must seek the answer in one phenomenon that strikes us all in different situations – tension.
We all seem to know what tension is. We know the feeling man creates in us – it could be “suffocation” in the language of athletes or “running together” in so-called everyday work situations. Of course, sometimes, unfortunately, less often, it can also be, paraphrasing one of the well-known drink ads – “I have wings”!
In general, we still know, based on our experience, the situations in which tensions arise. Be it a competitive situation, a performance, a meeting with a stranger, or a moment of truth in an exam. And we also know what tension tends to do with us in the worst case: what we feel, including physically (dry throat, palms sweating, stagnation, like moving in a slow-motion, or vice versa – rushing and rape, running out of mind, etc.). But for the most part, we don’t know two things: what exactly is this tension? And secondly, how to deal with him?
Other people and the irreversibility of time.
We are starting with the first question. Read several articles and books on this; one answer has not yet done found. Instead, they try to define tension through what we do to us. In other words, it interferes with our ability to focus on what is occurring done, sometimes in a way that we perceive ourselves and sometimes in a way that we do not understand—and often causing a decline in performance.
Somehow the tension seems to be related to other people – someone else’s possible assessment. And on the other hand, the awareness of the moment also plays a role – I have to be in shape at that moment, I can’t play it again. However, looking for an answer to the first question does not seem to help us much further. However, the answer to the question: how to deal with tension helps?
I read Dave Alred’s recent book, The Pressure Principle, and at the moment, it seems to be the best and most concrete book I’ve ever read on tension and stress management. Alred is a well-known Performance Coach who helps top British athletes, especially rugby players, footballers, cricketers, golfers, train and develop mental strength to perform at peak levels and to the best of their ability in stressful situations. “Help to keep his cool,” as his job description sounds in English.
The methods he uses in sports are extremely easily transferable to everyday work and private life. So, eight ways to turn tension situations to your advantage.
1. Make yourself big
Tension inevitably leads to an increase in anxiety. Some describe it as a feeling butterflies fly in the stomach at once (which is a natural feeling. The body prepares for the exertion and tries to turn off the gut; we do not usually need a stomach and its contents for quick and robust work. , the question is, how do they get everyone to fly in one direction.) A physical, confident posture, or how our body looks and feels, affects anxiety and self-confidence by pointing one in the right direction regarding the result and raising the other.
Going trapped with a sloping shoulder and a cramped body is the surest way to stay awkwardly speechless when you get there. So, make yourself physically big! Shoulders back, back straight! And further, if you leave yourself sloppy and don’t take care of yourself, others don’t care about you, and what you have to tell is there are exceptions, but the inner feeling must be right.
2. Keep an eye on your story
Try to watch yourself and listen to what you are saying to yourself and others. As someone approaches the kick-off, some people start talking about how they still can’t get full because “you know, this old injury.” The other begins to sigh before stepping on how he “definitely” fools himself. And the third can assure himself: I must not ride against a tree, I must not ride against a tree, I must not ride against a tree! And the only thing he later observes during the performance and where he hits right is the tree, even if it is the only one within the nearest kilometer radius.
Whether in our heads or to others, language and what we say is highly influential in behaving in a tense situation. Yes, I had an injury, but it’s over, and it won’t affect my score anymore. Instead of thinking of myself as a performer, my focus is under my control – that is, I do on stage. And so on. By the way, “I have to be positive!” type of thing because it’s an empty slogan. The self-confidence that does not break the first hurdle needs facts to build on.
The responsibility you take on will help you tremendously in this situation. If you drive, then you are responsible for yourself and other people; bring the tension to be expected what you feel internal, then it will remind you in a tense situation that the ghost is not that big when it first seemed.
3. Conscious and continuous learning
To explain, it means consistently pushing yourself out of the comfort zone, training new things, doing it constantly and in small pieces. If the coach has written the plan four × 4 minutes all-out paragraph, make the last section 4.30. Why? It doesn’t add much to physical training, but it moves beyond the comfort zone – “yes, if I want to, I’m capable of it” is a valuable piece of knowledge. Or if someone says you should talk about something in front of everyone at the next seminar, say yes right away before you think about it.
4. Keep your attention in the right place at the right time
In essence, this means consciously directing attention – either to yourself or to yourself, for example. If you are learning something, new techniques, English, driving, it is wise to do it consciously at the beginning or even thinking with your head: what I’m doing now, how it looks, and so on. Conscious learning.
However, suppose you are already in a tense situation. When it is necessary to perform: in a competition, in front of an audience, it is no longer the right place to start thinking about the nuances of technique or the beautiful sound and grammar of the language. Not to mention that I start to think about how I look. It is necessary to focus on the so-called narrow-mindedness – the critical activity, the listener in the back or the back of the driver—one thought at a time.
Focusing on the wrong place and attracting too much information is also the main reason why sometimes, in a situation of tension, we are struck by so-called stiffening, “suffocation,” where we begin to look and analyze ourselves as if. However, this means coordination, slowing down of movements, a sharp decline in response speed and capacity.
5. Behavior training
The golden rule we probably all know. But for some reason, it doesn’t always follow. If you want to perform well under stress, you need to train it behaviorally, which means that just thinking about the tense situation and the activities is not enough. And the great result is divided into three stages of behavior training:
- Practice (or conscious exercise)
- Repetition (or automation of activities)
- Competition (or repetition under stress)
- Iron nerves are a combination of experience and repetition rather than a gift of genetics.6. Consideration and adaptation to the environment
- One essential skill – precisely the skill because it is learnable – is the readiness for the unexpected. As human beings, we all have an irrational, unfounded expectation that things will continue to happen in the world as we have planned. Unfortunately, this is not the case in most cases. In other words, situations change, expectations change, plans also need to change.
Self-esteem is one of the biggest problems that people tend to do to their detriment because we don’t feel adequate at the moment, even if the preliminary work has been extensive. You know absolutely everything you can learn about it, please don’t do too much to yourself and don’t let yourself down. Not valuable for you.
- Besides, You can also foresee some “surprises.” For example, the likelihood that you may lose five important conversation points when appearing in a queue may not be so low. Or that the starter from behind will catch me already in the first kilometer. Shall I take her bile or give up, explaining to myself that “I came so fast, I guess I’m weak today”?And this tense environment must then be trained, or sometimes artificially created for oneself. If there is an actual performance in front, practice with the audience, not just in front of a separate mirror.
- 7. Sensor closure
- In a situation of tension, a strange thing happens to our attention – it gets much narrower. The pulse rises exponentially, beginning to affect our judgment, not to mention our ability to perform precise and complex actions and speak meaningful and coherent talk. The phenomenon of sensor closure is inevitable. The body and head prepare to respond vigorously and quickly in a tense situation. Everything else is empty, choices become accessible, and all body and mind activities recede behind that one choice. All this significantly reduces our ability to make the best decisions in a tense situation, i.e., to adapt to the environment.Of course, you can also train it to buy yourself more time before the sensors close. Above all, it means practicing the sequence of activities until automation: I start with that, then I do it, then I do it, and so on.
- 8. Focus on the means, not the outcome.
- The last tool for succeeding under pressure is perhaps even the most effective. Critical focusing on the process, activities is the best friend of a good result. Of course, this presupposes a plan, a sequence of activities, or even a critical activity focused on thought.
- Why is focusing on the process more effective? There are two main reasons: the actions, or what you do, are under your control. But the result is not. It may depend on many factors that you have no control over, from other people to the weather. And secondly, focusing on activities also calms the person’s so-called monkey brain, the emotional center, which is actually behind the tension. Seeing the plan, the monkey brain (hopefully) makes sure things are under control and goes back to sleep. And it takes excessive stress and anxiety with it.Ah, one more simple thing. Never tell yourself or others before the challenge ahead: calm down! Because it doesn’t help. Say better: it’s exciting! Because it helps to make butterflies fly in one direction. Exciting, tense moments!