The objective is not to completely eliminate stress or anxiety. This is some-thing we need to make clear right from the very start.
Believe it or not, stress and anxiety are actually useful emotions. Both put the body into a physiological state of heightened arousal, attention and awareness and can even increase physical strength and power.
When you’re stressed, you’re essentially “amped up” and this makes you better at completing physical tasks or reacting on the spot.
Psychologists have also shown that stress can be a positive motivating force in the right circumstances. Stress is what compels us to study for exams and what motivates us to save money as a contingency fund. Specifically, this type of stress is known as eustress’ and is a very useful phenomenon.
The problem is that many of us have no control over when we become stressed or when we get anxiety. This then in turn leads to us feeling those emotions in maladaptive situations.
Being chased by a lion? Then yes, the fight or flight response as it is known is exactly what you need.
About to give a big speech to a large audience? Then the same response is going to make you look nervous and unconfident.
Likewise, it’s important that the stress response be appropriate to the situation that we’re in. Being a little stressed in a crowd is normal – but having such a powerful response that you end up having a panic attack and fainting is a problem.
So our objective here is not to remove stress entirely but simply to learn to control it, to hone it and to use it to our advantage.
That’s what this book is all about. This book will teach you to take control of your physiology and your psychology so that you can experience the right emotion when you need it.
You can suppress your fight-or-flight response during a presentation in order to come across as calm and collected and you can switch it on again during competition so that you become an un-stoppable athlete.
You might not think that you currently have a particular problem with stress and this may well be true. But even if you don’t experience any crippling anxiety, that doesn’t mean you couldn’t benefit from being more calm, more collected and more in control of your thoughts and feelings.
All of us experience inappropriate anxiety to some extent, the question is simply where you fall on that spectrum.
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