Controlling anxiety is not necessarily one of those new year resolutions people pen down late every year, however, it may be one of those tasks that will pay off more than many other fads.
Often the greatest victories are psychological ones. Many times, a strong will and the ability to overcome difficult times in our lives results in stronger versions of ourselves.
Unfortunately, very few people are born with extraordinary physical or mental qualities, but, with good training, almost everyone can be better.
One of the best brain sculptors is the author of the book The mental coach, Juan Carlos Alvarez Campillo, expert psychologist in leadership and coaching who works with athletes and top executives.
With them he works three essential elements: self-confidence, stress control and emotion management to achieve their goals.
The exercises to train these powers are simple, but, as in all training, you have to start from below, without forcing it and doing it daily.
“The mind can be trained as the body, and there are exercises for that as there are to throw penalties,” explains Campillo. To achieve a goal, we must remember achievements in the past, look at the challenges overcome throughout life.
That reinforces an essential thought: “I am good. I can do it”. This establishes self-confidence. Then you have to train it with small short-term goals, things of very little difficulty that do not admit excuses and create a habit.
Thanks to the plasticity of our brain, it generates neural connections that reinforce the idea that one is capable.
It is important to isolate the ideas that destroy that work: it will not leave me, it does not give me time … “We have an internal saboteur that, as soon as you are careless, begins to undermine your confidence,” warns Campillo, “and you have to deactivate it”.
You have to work on it and convince yourself that this is not you in your best state, that other times you have shown that you can. Go back to you, to what you really are, ignoring those ideas or the opinions of others.
Focus on your goal, look at your achievements and trust in your work and your talent. Because those thoughts generate a lot of stress, and neutralizing them strengthens trust and keeps that tension at bay.
The management of pressure, of anxiety, is another essential muscle. This ability is gained based on breathing exercises, concentration and relaxation.
It is about having mindfulness, about being focused on the ball and not on the stands, think about the here and now, and not about the circumstances that surround them.
Stress is the body’s response to the anticipation of the imagined future as threatening. That is why it is important to focus on the present and visualize only future achievements, never mistakes, experiencing how one would feel in that moment of success.
The here and now involves managing an important factor in psychology: detecting what can and cannot be controlled, and focusing on working on the first.
“Nobody can control the outcome of a game, but they can get rested, well fed, in shape, with good relations with their teammates and with their partners, and trusting in their talent,” explains Campillo.
Eat well, rest, maintain satisfactory affections … That must be worked every day like the biceps. But you cannot maintain that discipline without the big engine: motivation.
“You have to visualize it, in order to feel it. What would it be like to achieve something that makes you vibrate, that makes you happy, and once you connect with that by imagining yourself there, you already have the motivation.
“From that moment, you have to plan the steps to, little by little, get there,” advises the coach.
“If that goal is going to be achieved or not, nobody knows. But it is certain that with this training it is going to reach the maximum that each one can give “, guarantees Campillo.
In the end it is about that, living with challenges and illusions, to row in our favor and win the trophy of being the best version of oneself.
So, let’s recapitulate. These are the steps to end anxiety:
- Working on self-confidence, stress control and emotion management
- Remember achievements in the past and challenges we overcame successfully
- Deactivate out internal saboteur
- Ignore negative ideas and opinions of others
- Focus on your goal
- Do breathing exercises, concentration and relaxation
- Think about the here and now
- Visualize only future achievements and how happy you will be then
- Focusing on what you can control
- Eat well, rest, maintain satisfactory affections
- Keep motivated by visualizing the completion of your goals