Stress is an extremely overlooked aspect of athletic performance. Stress manipulates our ability to enter a peak performance state of consciousness. Find out how to reduce your stress for improved athletic performance with these 3 tips! management
If you’ve read my other articles such as 5 was to surf better or 5 ways to climb better, you’ll know one of the key ways to improve athletic performance is actually by manning stress.
Peak athletic performance can also be considered flow state.
What’s Flow State?
Flow state, is a state of consciousness where we experience peak performance. You can click here to read more about flow state (coming soon).
Flow State occurs when 6 components come together at once. This includes:
- Full concentration
- A clear, defined goal
- Release from external expectations
- & Reduced stress
When these components come together, it activates a higher state of consciousness (aka awareness) or scientifically speaking, it activates Gamma brainwaves which conduct our rapid-fire adaptability and problem solving abilities among other things.
In flow state, high performance comes with precision and ease.
Why does stress matter?
Perhaps the most important and often overlooked area of peak performance is the last one: Reduced stress.
I think as athletes, we’re fairly good at goals and concentration but stress, why does stress matter?
Like I mentioned earlier, reduced stress is crucial to enter flow state. This is because, entering flow state means entering a gamma brainwave state.
To enter Gamma, you have to enter a brainwave known as Alpha first. Alpha is our creativity state. It’s our zen state of wake, like how you feel after a yoga class or on a hike.
“But I’m Not Stressed In My Sports“
The common objection is that we are actually very happy and calm when we do our sports. Why would I do the sport if it made me stressed?
The truth us that even if we don’t think our sports make us stressed, our minds may still be in a “stress state.”
What’s a stress state? Well, anytime we are in a state of productivity, focus, to-do lists, or thinking about the external environment, that’s a stress state. Stress states do indeed serve a purpose at times but we’re in stress states too often.
Stress states can be triggered even by minor stress that comes from traffic, work productivity, and running errands. When in a stress state, our conscious mind may think we’re fine. But under the surface, our brains have triggered a sympathetic nervous system response.
Now, here’s the key part. If you’re stressed often in your daily life, the body maintains that stress addiction even when we go into our sports.
How we handle stress in our day to day life is no different than how we will respond when we’re out on our given playing field.
The difficult part is, we have to practice stress management every day in our daily life, not just in sports.
So how do you manage stress? Here are three easy ways to control stress in your day-to-day life to improve your athletic performance.
3 Stress Management Tips for Athletes
1 | Brainwave Entrainment
The easiest habit you can start implementing now to master you stress.
Brainwave entrainment has becoming exponentially more popular in the last 5-10 years. YouTube is filled with thousands of Hz frequency mediations for this method.
Brainwave entrainment is conducted by listening to 2 different frequencies, one in each ear. When you listen to 2 frequencies, the brain cannot hear both, but it does come up with a product frequency. The product frequency the brain will perceive is the difference between the 2 frequencies.
So if I listen to a 120 Hz frequency on one ear, and a 127 frequency on the other ear, there’s a difference of 7 Hz which would make it an Alpha Brainwave.
The practice of brainwave entrainment is to simply to listen to these specific frequencies which you can find all over YouTube and Spotify. You do need to wear headphones for the fun effect and you’ll want to listen for at least 30 minutes.
Stress specifically, means we are in a Beta brainwave state. Beta is important, but we spend for too much time in our Beta State, thus training our nervous system to be unable to relax easily.
To fix this, try listening to Alpha frequencies when you feel stressed.
You can find more ways to Get Out of Beta in my course/challenge.
2 | Think Like A Warrior
When an athlete is at their finest, the mindset of an athlete has long been associated with that of a warrior.
Most of us as athletes, are not warriors. Not yet, at least.
Athletes have the capability of becoming the most masterful warriors however you have to face an uncomfortable aspect outside of physical training which is mindset.
This brings us back to stress. A warrior is completely calm, composed, and in control of their own thoughts. So the lesson I want to share with you today is that of Non-Resistance. Let it go.
“You will be free of the world’s turbulence as soon as you stop taking your thoughts so seriously. Let go of your thoughts to see through your mind.”– Dan Millman, The Way of The Peaceful Warrior
Stress is a response to the external world but it’s a result of thought and quite possibly thinking too much. It’s something we let happen, it doesn’t HAVE TO happen.
If someone cuts you off in traffic, you don’t have to be upset about.
Stress is a way we handle things, “And how you handle the things you can control determines whether you’re successful or not.”
If we want to be successful in managing our stress and therefore in our athletic purists, we have to be warriors by letting our feeling come and go.
This practice can begin in meditation. Notice what emotions you’re experiencing. Feel into them for 10 minutes of meditation, then let them go. Eventually, it can carry over to our day-to-day living.
3 | Try Coffee Alternatives
I get it, “Coffee is the lifeblood that fuels the dream of champions.” Yes, I know this, Mike Ditka, that’s why I drink it so much!
Trust me, I love coffee as much as anyone. And I’ll be honest, early morning wake up calls to go surf, climb, and snowboard would be almost impossible without coffee.
On all but the earliest, most important wake-up calls, limiting your coffee is crucial.
Why? Because if we’re having the conversation about managing stress, coffee is only going to amplify any stress you currently have and in many cases, it actually creates stress that shouldn’t even be there.
I’m not saying all coffee bad. It’s simply a really great strategy to reduce daily stress that is easily implemented.
Don’t worry, there are coffee alternatives that can make even the most hardcore coffee drinker feel good (okayyyy maybe satisfied).
My absolute favorite coffee alternative is MUDWTR. Mudwtr is a coffee alternative filled with amazing superfoods inlcuding:
- Lion’s Mane for mental clarity and improved cognitive function
- Chaga for hormonal balance
- Reishi for improved immune function
- Cordyceps for improved physical performance including higher energy and stamina
- Cacao for antioxidants
- Turmeric for immune boost
- & Cinnamon for anti-inflammation
If you want to challenge your warrior self, cut your coffee for 14 or 30 days. In the end it’s about both the substance that stimulates stress but also about mental mastery of unconscious habits:
“You see, any unconscious, compulsive ritual is a problem. Every action has it’s price and it’s pleasures. Recognizing both sides, you become realistic and responsible for your actions. And only then can you make the free and conscious choice — to do or not to do.”– Dan Millman, The Way of The Peaceful Warrior
I hope this blog gave you some helpful tips on reducing your stress for peak performance and I hope you’re inspired to put these tips into practice.
Mastering your mind in your everyday life really is key to transfer over to your athletic performance!
Embody the Warrior Within
If you’re ready to fully embody the warrior within you for peak performance, check out flow state warriors. You can try out the first Athlete’s Success Mediation for free by clicking here.
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