Setting short-term goals
It is a consciously controlled activity, which brings structure and system into chaos, such as “I can do one more activity/exercise”, “I will last till lunch/dinner”, “I will pass this test”.
It is important to divide the big goals or problems, which cause us panic and fear, into small achievable ones.
Mental training - visualisation
Try to imagine a situation that makes us scared or anxious. We imagine myself handling this situation successfully with no fear. When we are then confronted with this situation in real life, it is no longer unknown and frightening to us. We know how to react, because we have imagined this plenty of times before. Therefore, my brain has no reason to panic. Physical training of specific motor skills combined with mental training - visualisation has also a positive effect for us. This combined training is much more effective than regular physical training.
Visualisation can help us prepare our brain for solving complex mental or physical tasks.
It helps us focus our thoughts on the performance we want to complete. A normal person usually says 300-1000 words to themselves per minute. However, fear causes us to doubt ourselves and to think negatively - “I won’t make it”, “I won’t pass the exam”, “I won’t score” and so on. These negative thoughts then act as a negative priming, which triggers self-sabotaging behaviour. These thoughts change our behaviour, make us question ourselves and inevitably fail the task at hand. It is therefore very important to replace these negative thoughts with positive ones. We could use positive priming such as “look at him, he’s also done it” or self-talk such as “I will do it”, “I will pass the exam”, “I will score” and so on.
This kind of self-talk will help us replace those negative thoughts with positive ones and “rewrite” the signs of fear and panic.
Control of emotions through breathing
The hormones that our brain and body release during stressful situations cause us, among other things, to breath faster and shallower. Breathing exercise is a simple method, which helps ease off the physical reaction to stress and fear. Slower and deeper breathing, a deep exhalation in particular, lowers our blood pressure and heart rate.
Focusing on slow and deep breathing will help us move from an automatic, consciously uncontrolled reaction of our body back to a state where we are in control and are able to thing rationally.
It is very important to combine all four methods
If we want to reach optimal results, it is very important to use a combination of these four methods:
Short term goals help us divide big goals into small achievable ones
Visualisation prepares our brain for a stressful situation
Self-talk helps us replace negative thoughts with positive ones
Proper breathing eases off a stressful reaction of our body
When everyone else is frightened and stressed, I remain calm.
I focus on doing as much as I can to win.
When everyone else is looking for an excuse, I look for a way.
No matter what happens, I refuse to lose.