5 science-backed ways to reduce competitive anxiety

Do you get nervous before big competitions? If so, you're not alone. Many athletes feel anxious before they compete. But there are ways to reduce competitive anxiety and perform your best. Here are five science-backed methods that can help: 

Table of Contents

1. Identify your personal pre-competition routine and stick to it

2. Visualize yourself succeeding in the competition

3. Stay present in the moment - don't focus on what happened in the past or what could happen in the future

4. Take care of your body by getting enough sleep and eating healthy foods

5. Today is a gift, that's why it's called the present

6. Putting it all together

The importance of a pre-competition routine

Before any big competition, it's important to have a routine that gets you mentally and physically prepared. For me, that means doing some light stretching, visualizing the game, and drinking lots of water. It sounds simple enough, but trust me, it makes a world of difference. That's because when you're competing, your mind and body are under a lot of stress. Having a routine helps to ease some of that stress by giving you a sense of control. And when you're feeling more relaxed and in control, you're more likely to perform at your best. So if you're looking to take your game to the next level, I recommend finding a pre-competition routine that works for you and sticking to it. You might be surprised at how much of a difference it can make.

Visualize success

It's well known that visualization can be a powerful tool in achieving success. Just ask any sports psychologist. But what if you're not a professional athlete? Can visualization still help you succeed in competitions? The answer is a resounding yes! AdobeStock_333924101Visualizing yourself succeeding in the competition can help you to stay calm and focused, and believe in your own ability to win. It can also help you to better understand the challenge ahead and to plan and execute your strategy more effectively. So if you're looking to give yourself an edge in the competition, start by visualizing yourself crossing the finish line first.

Remain mindful

It's easy to get caught up in thinking about the past or worrying about the future, but mindfulness is all about staying present in the moment. That doesn't mean you have to forget about your goals or ignore your surroundings, but it does mean being aware of your thoughts and feelings in the here and now. This can be especially important in competition, where athletes often focus on what went wrong in the last game or what could happen in the next one. But if you're only focused on winning, you're likely to miss out on the joy of playing. So next time you're in a competition, try to stay mindful of your experience in the present moment. You may just find that you enjoy it more and perform better as a result.

Self-care is caring for yourself!

Most people know that they should take care of their bodies, but they might not realize how important self-care is for both their physical and mental health. Getting enough sleep and eating healthy foods are both essential for maintaining a healthy body, but self-care goes beyond just taking care of the physical self. It also includes activities like exercise and relaxation that help to reduce stress and promote overall well-being.

For athletes, self-care is especially important. Sport psychology research has shown that self-care can improve athletic performance by reducing stress and increasing focus and motivation. Furthermore, competition can be grueling, both mentally and physically, so it's important for athletes to take care of themselves both during and after a competition. By taking the time to rest and recover, they can ensure that they'll be ready to perform at their best the next time they hit the playing field.

So whether you're an athlete or just someone who wants to live a healthy life, don't forget the importance of self-care. Your body will thank you for it!

Today is a gift, that's why it's called the present

Reset, Reset, Reset. That's what they always say in sport psychology when you make a mistake. And it makes sense, doesn't it? Because if you spend too much time dwelling on your mistakes, you'll never be able to move on and achieve your goals. So the next time you mess up, cut yourself some slack and reset. Forgive yourself and move on. Because in the end, that's all any of us can do.AdobeStock_509923284

Let's talk about self-compassion for a second. You know when you make a mistake and you're just really hard on yourself? Well, studies have shown that people who are more self-compassionate are more likely to reset after making a mistake. That means they're more likely than others to get back up and try again instead of wallowing in their fear or shame. And that's not just some wishy-washy new age BS, either. This effect has been shown in fields as varied as sport psychology and medical school performance. So if you're the kind of person who is really hard on yourself after making a mistake, practice being a little bit kinder to yourself. Forgive yourself, and then get back up and try again. You might be surprised at how well you do.

Putting it all together

So there you have it – your personal pre-competition routine. Of course, everyone is different and what works for one person might not work for another, so feel free to experiment until you find what helps you achieve your peak performance. Just make sure to stick to your routine during competition; visualization, staying present in the moment, and taking care of your body are all key ingredients for success. And finally, don’t forget to be compassionate with yourself – everyone makes mistakes sometimes! If you need help reducing competitive anxiety or want more information on how our team can help you achieve optimal performance, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would love to hear from you!



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