Information & Resources
San Diego Figure Skating Communications
Managing Stress and Anxiety
There is a difference between
There is a point at which mental and emotional anxiety begins to transition into physical stress. When this occurs varies acccording to the individual. One or more of the following emotional/mental symptoms can be observed, including:
This involves the generation of adrenaline that is like kicking in an "after burner" in a jet plane to quickly gain thrust to take off. This natural hormone produced by our bodies allows us to achieve tasks that under normal conditions we could not conceive of accomplishing.
Being energized by an audience of supportive fans can inspire athletes and entertainers to achieve positive performances. Emotion
Unfortnately it is the negative aspects of stress (under perfofrming) that usually creates the most problems for individuals to handle and seak solutions to avoid the triggering stressor in the future.
Stress affects everyone to some degree in all aspects of everyone living
What is important is to learn how to positively manage how to learn and perform activities at or near optimum levels of our natural potential. Stress is not necessarily positive or negative, good or bad! It is our response to the stressor causes many individuals to attempt to deal with stress in ways that are counter-productive or even self defeating because the resulting reaction diminishes performance rather than enhancing it.
Successfully managing stress requires that the individual changes the way they respond to stress by making time for relaxation, and/or learning coping strategies that really work. This requires an objective analysis of the realities of the situation. The number of hours in a day can not be changed; however, it is possible to reallocate the available time by prioritizing tasks and reducing or eliminating tasks that are bot necesssary.
Obviously everyone needs a good nights sleep, but some may be able to due with less while others may require more. This may be associated with eating food to close to the start of the normal sleep pattern. It may also have to do with the consumption of caffeine or other food and drinks that stimulate our body. It also may be the level of physical activities prior to attempting to sleep. This is frequently observed in young children and adults who work unusually schedules that are not conducive to an uninterrupted sleep cycle.
Young puppies and children may play until they suddenly drop from exhaustion. As they grow older, they may exhibit short temper and crankiness when the become overly tired or stay put beyond their regular bedtime. Adults may find thier responsibilities do not allow them to finish school, job, or parenting responsibilities. Unfortnately, high school and college age individuals may undertake too much and discover to their dismay that it nnegative affects their performance.
Negative stress frequently is associated with an individual not prepared to do their best
Managing stress is all about personal control of your:
Managing these challenges head on may not be your personal style; however, putting off a confrontation only delays the inevitable need to make a decision that is best for you. Don't allow someone to guilt you into doing something that you don't really want to do! Don't procrastinate making life altering decisions!
It is possible to effectively reduce stress levels by preparing for taking tests and enter competitions. You may not be able to completely eliminate stress, but stress levels can be managed through relaxation exercises and other techniques. Some guidelines to try include:
The true sources of stress aren’t
always obvious to an individual who is suffering from stress. It’s all
too easy to overlook the
everyday stress-inducing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are
internal because they have slowly become part of or "normal" daily
existance. However, someone who does not interact with us on a
regular basis frequently notice the changes in our behavior.
Stress and anxiety are part of everyone's life - non-athletes and athletes. Most athletes generally associate stress and anxiety with physical injuries. Everyone feels the pressure to succeed, pressure of failing, fear of injury, fear of reinjury, or anxiety about overcoming an injury. However, many individuals do not and will not recognize the symptoms.
major sources of stress reported in individuals and coaches in amateur
and professional sports
The following coping strategies are frequently used to temporarily reduce stress, but the end result is long term physical, mental, and emotional damage:
These band aid approaches never solve the problem, they only serve to mask the real source which must be dealt with to end the cycle of stress and behaviors to mask the cause of the behavior.
Avoiding unnecessary stress is the first place to start in stress managment
It is not possible to completely acoid all stressful situations. It is necessary to confront those situations that need to be addressed. Begin by changing how you interact with people -
Sometimes it is much easier to see how you can adapt to stressful situations and thus be in charge by changing your expectations and attitude -
Anticipating how you would respond/handle situations is a common techniquic used to prepare our military forces for all possible contingencies. However, if you become preoccupied with “what ifs” and worst-case scenarios, then the worrying becomes obsessive and is another problem to deal with.
Some individuals seem to
be possessed with doubts and fears that paralyze the individual. Such
an attitude is not helpful in self motivation or productivity. Any
negative attitude saps
your emotional energy as anxiety levels soar and interfere
with even the simplest daily tasks. Chronic worrying is a habit that
can be repurposed or retrained, but rarely completely eliminated.
Consulting a professional therapist to help you stay cool, calm, and
collected is highly recommended.
Prevention requires efforts to identify the stressors to allow the development of an action plan
Not all problems can be resolved by simply joining a self help group or reading books on the subject you feel is the problem. The most useful approach is to seek the services of a trained counselor who can get to the root source of the problem(s) that you are in a state of denial and refuse to acknowledging or that you unaware of its existence.
To modify an individual's reaction to stress and anxiety requires changes in two main categories:
Stress and anxiety management must include a deailed, step-by-step plan to:
Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety definitions and measurements. ... 'An emotional state, similar to fear, associated with arousal and ... Examples are Martens Sports Competition Anxiety Test (SCAT) and Speilbergers State Trait Anxiety Inventory
Measuring an athletes levels of stress can be achieved in three ways:
Self-report questionnaires: Easy to complete although can be open to inaccurate responses. Examples are Martens Sports Competition Anxiety Test (SCAT) and Speilbergers State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI)
Physiological Measurements: Measuring physiological responses to a situation can indicate a stress response. Measurements such as heart rate, sweating, muscle tension and oxygen uptake can be used although this can involve expensive, bulky equipment
Observation: Viewing an athletes behavior before, during and after an event can provide much information about their stress response. Clues to watch out for include shaking, talking fast, frequent toilet visits, biting the nails, and an inability to stay still.References:
Learn More About:
Is Your Stress IQ Hurting Your Performance? by Dr. Mick G. Mack
Jitter Bug: Overcoming the First Tee (golf) by Patrick J. Cohn
Pass or Fail: Learning How to Make the Grade (golf) by Patrick J. Cohn
Preventing "Choking" and Downward Performance Cycles by Dr. Robert M. Nideffer
A Psychoanalytic Perspective on Anxiety in Athletes by Tom Ferraro, Ph.D.
Q-School Pressure Takes Mental Toughness (golf) by Patrick J. Cohn
Shooting Low Means Beating Fear (golf) by Patrick J. Cohn
Stress, Anxiety and Energy Follow the down arrow (at page top and bottom) for continued discussion.
Relationship Between Anxiety and Performance: A Cognitive-Behavioral
by Miguel Humara, M.A.
The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organization/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:
All materials are copy protected.
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.