Nervousness Instead of Stress


Stepping onto the track your feet slide into the starting blocks, you bend over to place your hands on either side of the white line. Your track number is flapping in the wind brushing your chin, flap, flap, flap. As you settle in your heart beat increases going from a flutter to a consistent and strong beat. Thump, Thump, THUMP. Your eyes sharpen and you can see the finish line, every cell in your body tenses and relaxes recoiling like a spring ready to be launched. Silence settles in and you wait for the…..BANG. You take flight pushing with all your might driving your legs into the starting blocks, blasting off down the track. In a flash you cross the finish line…FIRST!

These moments or events can occur in anyones life and maybe they have occurred in yours. These BANG moments can be reflected on in two very different ways. Let me explain, when I was a high school athlete competing to be on the Varsity rotation for basketball I use to challenge myself to play better, work harder, try more. I worked hard! Put in extra hours in the gym, the weight room, or any other place that I thought was going to give me the edge. This effort got me dismal results. I was so focused on the pre-work that in the moment I was nervous or worse stressed! What I was neglecting was my bodies emotional intelligence to perform.

Our bodies respond to emotions via little chemical messengers called dopamine, serotonin, and epinephrine. When we feel a particular emotion like joy, happiness, or fulfillment our blood floods with dopamine. A similar effect occurs with excitement. Dopamine is the master hormone of feeling excited.

After the race you just WON you feel elated, jumping up and down, pointing your fingers at family and friends in the crowd, you are in frenzy and everyone is feeding off your ENERGY. The rush intensifies as you step on to the podium and accept your reward. Following a quick ceremony you are asked a few basic questions by a reporter following the event. One question sticks out in your mind, “Did you feel nervous?” You quickly answer “NO!” because you have just won, put in hundred of hours of effort and it all paid off with a victory. Nervous could be farther from the truth. You are excited! Nervousness doesn’t exist in the moment of action, because it would prevent your mind and body from letting go. Nervousness is a protection mechanism by the body to prevent you from taking risks that may end your life. Well let me tell you, there are not a lot of things or people that are out to talk you life away, so nervousness doesn’t have a very product place in society anymore. In order to be in the moment of action we must learn to access excitement in spite of nervousness or lets call it as we see it, FEAR.

While you might never experience a huge athletic victory in your life, we all have opportunities to have victories which result in a FEELING. This feeling is a response of our body to produce a hormone that results in another feeling. We are feeling making machines! So the question is if nervousness and excitement both come from very similar places, how do we create more excitement in our lives? The answer is choose different. What do I mean by that? I mean you need to be aware in the moments before a big event in your life, or something that triggers and old response, be gentile with yourself and choose to be excited and have your body recognize this is not nervousness, but this is excitement for something new, something great, something big that is about to happen in your life. Simon Sinek’s analogy to nerves and athletics has inspired me to write this article and become more away of my FEELINGS and how I react. He has decide to choose excitement as his FEELING and remind himself that nervousness only results in in-action in his life. Please use the link below to watch this short clip on Simon’s viewpoint on nervousness vs. excitement.

Simon Sinek on Training Your Mind to Perform Under Pressure

Contributing writer:
Dr. Cory Ostroot
The American Center of Natural Medicine
15170 N Hayden Suite 6B
Scottsdale AZ 85260
Phone: 480-779-7755
Fax: 480-447-4530

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