Keeping your cool in less-than-ideal situations is not a talent we are all born with, but it can be a learned skill. From keeping calm in the sport’s area, during practice or when things start to go wrong, this life skill is something that can make or break you, and help you better control your reaction to difficult circumstances.
Just how important is learning to really keep your cool? Not just when you are stuck in traffic on a Monday, but when it feels like everything is failing apart and your immediate reflex is anger?
In the first place, your emotional stability and time are your most important assets. They should be protected at all costs.
Time – once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Emotional tranquility – also known as peace of mind. Without it, you can be worn down and push you “down in the dumps”. Without mental freedom your judgment can be compromised, you can be uninspired, and just over all loose – big time.
Learning To Keep Your Cool Will Benefit You
In short: Learning to keep your cool will benefit you, both as an athlete, and in all areas of your life. It won’t just keep you mentally on game, but will also save you the time and energy you would spend on dealing with repercussions of you blowing up.
There are some other benefits, too. Keeping your cool won’t just help you deal with stressful situations, but will show others that you are more powerful, credible, and capable. Being the one capable to control your reactions builds discipline.
If you can not flip out when a training session goes bad, or get mad when you get thrown off course, or have a setback, or an injury, or disappointed in your results, you’ll be able to see through the short term loss and focus on your greater goals, and adapt your course of action to align with those goals and ambitions.
How do build the mental discipline to keep your cool and control your emotions?
Simple. Like most things, awareness and practice.
Whatever your practice will become a habit and be your go-to reaction to a stressful event, even if you aren’t aware that you are practicing a habit at all.
If you continue to react on an emotional level to every failed jump or movement sequence that was ill-performed, you will always respond emotionally and not in a calm, controlled manner. Keeping a calm head on your shoulders will get easier over time, and you will be better prepared to deal with difficult situations as they arise.
Remember, being in extreme sports doesn’t just require physical prowess. It requires an extreme level of mental strength and focus. It’s just as much a mental game as a physical one.
Identify the Starting Point
First stop: Identify when you might be entering into an event or situation that will cause you stress or disappointment. You’re trying a new trick, a new jump, exercise or improving your balance, and it falls apart, again.
If you go in to a situation experiencing the possibility of stress, disappointment, or anger, you’ll be ready to deal with it when it comes up.
You won’t like it, but you’ll better for it. Remember, the mental game is where champions are forged. You need to identify when you’re becoming stressed. While there will be plenty of situations that will be unexpected and unpredictable, you’ll be able to mentally prepare for those unexpected stressful situations. Knowing how you mentally and physically start to show signs of stress will help you change your actions and keep your cool before you lose it.
Decide & Act
Okay, so now you know when your body and mind is about to lose it due to a stressful situation. You can decide how to react to anything and any emotion. You many not know that, but you subconsciously make these decisions in small ways well before the act. If you let yourself become reactive without thought to any situation, you are not in control of yourself.
Owning your responsibility for your actions gives the power to yourself by giving you control of reaction, and your future actions.
Next, talk yourself through it. Repeat your successes, tell yourself you’ll be stronger and better because of whatever situation you are going through. You will make that distance, you’ll get stronger, you’ll get to your goal.
In the end, you need to use everything you have, everything you are going through to your advantage, even if it feels like what you are going through is nothing more than a disadvantage. Tough times, the heartbreaking feeling of missing out on your goals and failing to produce the results that you wanted in practice or in competition, can be used as fuel for you to get back up and keep going.
The choice is yours.
We hope you have enjoyed reading this article, but today, a lot of people read and then move onto something else without putting what they’ve learned into practice. If you read something without appying it to your life, it has no use, and is really just a waste of time. Don’t just read and move on. Read, learn, apply, and move on to reap the benefits of these principles.
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