Since the beginning of recorded history, stress has been with man. Even the earliest caveman daily faced the stress of simply surviving every day life. From seeking shelter to escaping predators.
Today even though our lives have changed drastically, stress is still with us – we’re just stressed about different things. Some of us are worried about our financial future or the stress of being out of work. Others, who have a job may be facing stressful situations at work. Many people have health related problems and face the stress of dealing with their illness. Or you may have a marriage that is so filled with stress that it is barely surviving. If you have kids, they could be facing the stress of dealing with bullies at school. Stress is all around us, and always has been. Those who survive are the ones who find productive ways of dealing with stress instead of capitulating to it.
Researchers and scientiests have well documented the effects of stress on the body and mind. Experts in stress management know that trying to eliminate stress from a person’s life is not only futile, it’s arguably not even desirable. So they concentrate on managing stress instead. But why is it that some people thrive under stress and others, in a similar situation, will collapse from it? There are a couple of reasons why, but the main reason is that a large part of anxiety response is psychological. The first individual has learned how to manage his anxiety so well that he actually thrives under pressure. Likewise, a stress management expert will help you to achieve similar results.
Where does anxiety come from? There’s more than one answer. Many times the cause is a traumatic, life altering event such as losing a parent, losing a child, or losing someone that you love. But, stress can also be the result of less dramatic life changing events such as moving to a new neighborhood, attending a new school, or starting a new place of work. But just about all forms of stress or anxiety come down to either loss of the familiar or anticipation of loss of the familiar.
In sports terminology, think of the term “choke.” A team starts a season with zero wins. They win one, two, three, and eventually 12 games without a loss. Now they’re expected to win. In fact a loss would mean that they’ve disappointed their families, coaches, and fans. Suddenly as they approach each game, it’s with a feeling of “tightness”, because now they HAVE to win. The next loss has not even happened and yet some of the team members are already feeling tightness. Since the loss hasn’t happened yet, it can only be attributed to anticipation of what will happen if the team does lose. So, in many high profile, high stakes, games you’ll see players dropping balls that they would normally catch with ease, missing goals that they would normally make in their sleep, and passing up shots that they would normally take. In other words, they’re choking.
Superstars, on the other hand, have leaned to manage and focus their stress. They won’t pass up a shot. They’ll insist on taking the shot. They’ll actually want the ball in crucial situations. They will love being in the spotlight in front of thousands, maybe millions of people. Same game, same situation, different player, different reactions.
The important thing to note is that this feeling of confidence or comfort is not related to skill level. Because, we all know people who have little or no talent in their field who are nevertheless filled with supreme confidence in their actions and abilities.