#325: Power Play – Breathe and Focus

Heart and Ice Power Play - Breathe and Focus

“An anxious mind cannot exist in a relaxed body… When one is anxious, so is the other.  When one is at rest, so is the other.” – Bernardo Leonard


Sports psychologist Gary Mack would give a sticker to his athletes to put on their stick/hat/bat that said, Breathe and Focus.  Whenever you feel yourself getting anxious, breathe in energy.  Breathe out negativity.  Breathe in relaxation.  Breathe out stress.

When something terrible happens or anxiety arises, the best thing you can do is nothing.  Just think.  A solo fighter pilot was diving towards Tokyo Bay during World War II when his left wing took a direct hit and tipped the plane completely upside down.  If he had instinctively tried to right the plane by hitting a control, he would have lost the horizontal position he had and tipped into the water.  Instead he remembered just to stop and think, and he waited until he had enough clearance to turn back around and regain control.

When you become emotionally charged, your heart starts beating faster, your breathing quickens, you start rushing, and your mind is no longer in the present.  It’s said that “when you find yourself in a hole, the first rule is to stop digging.”  Everyone becomes frustrated and digs themselves into a hole sometimes, but the best thing you can do is to stop digging and take a time out.  When you get anxious and overwhelmed, you’ve probably experienced the “I gottas” – “I gotta do this.  I gotta do that.”  You become internally self-conscious instead of externally task conscious.  Instead, take a breath and return to the present.

The more you hurry the later you get.  When you find yourself rushing you are no longer in the present.  Pace instead of race. – Gary Mack

You have to learn how to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.  When you first step into a cold shower, icy lake, or swimming pool, the cold takes your breath away and your first impulse is to get out.  But if you breathe and stay focused you gradually become accustomed to the water temperature.  It’s the same when you’re performing under pressure.  If you take a time out to breathe and focus, you’re able to slow down and perform in the present.


Game Plan:  When you’re feeling anxious or under pressure, take a moment to breathe and focus.  Slow things down and think about your next step rather than feeling overwhelmed and hurried.


Quote source: Mind Gym, Gary Mack

Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do!, Robert Schuller


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