Understanding the mechanics of stress gives you the advantage of being more aware of and sensitive to your own level of stress and knowing when and how to take proactive steps. This increased awareness also helps you to better follow coaches instructions, utilise your talents and abilities consistently, recover from injury faster and develop stronger team performance. Here are a few stress facts that many people are unaware of:
FACT #1:YOUR BODY DOESN’T CARE IF IT’S A BIG STRESS OR A LITTLE ONE.
The human body doesn’t discriminate between real or a thought of danger, loss, limiting belief, fear, anxiety, anger, excitedness etc, a BIG stress or a little one. Regardless of the significance, the thought or biological stress response affects the body in predictable ways. A typical stress reaction, which most of us experience dozens of times each day, begins with a cascade of 1,400 biochemical events in your body. If these reactions are left unchecked performance is erratic, the choke syndrome takes over, our cognitive function is impaired, our energy is drained, and we are robbed of our effectiveness and clarity.
FACT #2:STRESS CAN MAKE SMART PEOPLE DO STUPID THINGS.
Stress causes what brain researchers call “cortical inhibition.” The phenomenon of cortical inhibition helps to explain why great players are inconsistent, do dumb things, go missing in action. Simply said, stress inhibits a small part of your brain and you can’t function at your best. When we are in coherence or in the zone – a state where we are cognitively sharp, emotionally calm, and we feel and think with enhanced clarity – the brain, heart and nervous system are working in harmony. This state of coherence facilitates our cognitive functioning – we are actually operating at peak performance mentally, emotionally and physically. A coherent team has the possibility to function at enhanced levels, similar to how the All Blacks are now performing
FACT #3:PEOPLE CAN BECOME NUMB TO THEIR STRESS.
We can be physiologically experiencing stress yet mentally numb to it because we’ve become so accustomed to it. Some have become so adapted to the daily pressures, irritations and annoyances of life that it starts to seem normal. Yet the small stresses accumulate quickly and we may not realize how much they’re impairing our mental and emotional clarity and our overall health until it shows up as a bad decision, an overreaction or an unwanted diagnosis at the doctor’s office.
FACT #4:WE CAN CONTROL HOW WE RESPOND TO STRESS.
We don’t need to be victims to our own emotions, thoughts, conditioning, environment and attitudes. We can control how we respond to stress and we can become more sensitive to stressful situations and how they are affecting us before it manifests as a physical, mental or emotional performance degrader. There are simple, scientifically validated solutions to stress that empower people to rewire their own stress response.
FACT #5:THE BEST STRATEGY IS TO HANDLE STRESS IN THE MOMENT.
The best way to manage stress is to deal with it the very moment you feel it come up regardless of where you are (in a meeting, fighting a fire, sport, job, anything). Learning to track your state in the moment enables you to get back to the moment and focus on what is happening on the paddock in that moment enabling intuitive response developed from training's, coaches instructions, your own talents and abilities. The All Blacks have learnt to master this resulting in the incredibly resilient displays of team coherence and individual displays of their own talents and abilities.