A Quick Fix for Nerves … or … The Eyes Have IT!
You’re cruising along just fine.
Suddenly, that awful, tight, stomach knot spazzes-out in your tummy. Then, it goes north into your throat like a choke hold!
It’s about what you do with it when it happens. It’s your response to your fear that counts.
A tense situation could happen anywhere from the trail to a competition. But, that teeth-clenching, mind-racing, tight-muscle feeling is the same for all riders who feel anxious.
This article contains a simple, five-step method to give you instant relief from anxiety. It can help you shift gears from experiencing internal turbulence to feeling as if you are smooth sailing.
The positive effects of these steps can help you:
1. Stay calm and focused for all your riding experiences from practice to show.
2. Stay grounded in your thinking so you can ride with more “feel”. This technique can help you make the transition from analytical thinking (which is how you learn initially) to automatic responses (which is how you ride when things become second-nature).
These steps work because they combine the use of mental and physical “tools” to evoke the emotions of calmness and focus.
It’s important to understand that our mind, body and emotions are inseparable. One always affects the other. When you consciously apply techniques that engage one, and then another, you have the ability to channel your emotions in a positive direction.
It’s a skill to do this. It’s not a gift one person has, and another one does not have.
The steps are:
1. Prior to your ride, choreograph your eyes. By “choreograph” I mean develop a conscious plan about where your eyes will be at all times during the concentrated part of your ride.
When you consciously control your eyes and keep them up and looking where you want to go, (or focused on an object), you go a long way toward keeping your emotions calm and focused. The reason this works is because all positive emotion is associated with eyes up. All dis-empowering emotion is associated with eyes down. Just by keeping your eyes up, you can positively channel your emotions .
So, think about where you want your eyes to be at all times. Visualize that choreography in your mind. Then, do the same as you ride.
2. Next, when you mentally or physically practice, combine an awareness of your breathing with your eye choreography. Instantly, your eyes will become soft and you will have a wider field of vision. Pair easy-breathing with every part of your eye plan.
3. Now that you have an eye-breath dynamic duo working for you, again, be sure you practice it! Become very skilled so you can methodically execute it on demand.
4. This next step will help you automatically apply your new skill to any situation. Make it your personal priority to keep tabs on how you feel. Pay attention when you begin to feel anxious, fearful, nervous, etc. (You’re probably thinking, “Duh! That’s a tough one, Barb!” But, the reality is our anxiety becomes a runaway train if we don’t consciously notice when we first feel fear.)
This step of noticing your emotions is HUGE. Don’t skip it.
5. Now, with your new trained consciousness of how you feel, you can replace any anxiety with your eye choreography and breathing. You might feel instantly super focused and calm. In the least, you will feel better.
Mental and emotional tools are SKILLS. They won’t happen automatically unless you practice them. The good news is, this is fun practice!
About the Author : Barbra Schulte is a personal performance coach for all riders, a cutting horse trainer, author, speaker, and clinician. Visit her Blog and signup to receive her FREE monthly email newsletter, “News From Barbra”. You will also receive the high performance secrets of great riders, inspiration, cutting strategies, news, and much more. In addition, you will also receive via email Barbra’s special FREE report: “Five of the Most Important Skills of Riding”. Go now to http://BarbraSchulte.com