In Performance Under Pressure Part 1 I talked about Stress as a 4 step process and addressed the fact that a situation is not stressful until we mentally appraise
- what the situation is and its demands
- whether we have the necessary resources and
- what the consequences could be
that we begin to feel stressed (or not stressed) Ok great thats kinda interesting.... But how do we manage it?
Managing the Stress Beast
1. Expand our Base of Resources or Abilities
Stress occurs when we feel ill equipped to deal with a situation, so by making a constant effort to expand our skill base we can decrease the chances of running into situations where we feel at a complete loss.
2. Modify our Thought Processes
- About our abilities i.e. believe in yourself (and really believe in yourself, empty words don't count)
- About how we approach the situation i.e. learn to look at challenging situations as obstacles to overcome (vs threats)
- About the Outcome i.e. yes it sucks to lose but losing isn't the end of the world (or our career as athletes), and every experience helps us grow and improve because we learn what works and what doesn't
3. Modify/Relearn our Coping Mechanisms (if necessary)
Coping mechanisms are the learned thought & behavioural patterns that we have developed to deal with stress and they can be very effective or highly ineffective. By making a conscious effort to develop & maintain positive coping mechanisms so that we can be effective under pressure instead of being unintentionally self-destructive
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