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Emotions: lessons from sport

This month, we’ve got some guest blogs from one of our ambassadors who is immersed in the world of elite sport, and in particular the lessons we can transfer from the sports world into our wider lives.

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Everyday life throws situations at us that can evoke an emotional response.

Whilst a lot of situations are out of our control, how we chose to response and invest our emotional energy is within our control, although it does take some practice. Pouring our emotions into something that is completely beyond our control is both draining and counterproductive. Developing the ability to pause, take a breath, and ask yourself the question; does this situation deserve my energy?

We all have a limited amount of energy and emotional responses to day-to-day issues can rob us of some of that. Think of the different simple things that demand our energy yet perhaps don’t deserve it; the weather; the red traffic light; the fact we forgot to do something. Being mindful of these drains in your day and catching yourself before you pour your energy into those drains, is something that can really boost your mood, outlook and general energy levels.

In sport this attitude is what allows athletes to get the absolute best of themselves. They all recognise they have finite energy and ultimately there is only a limited number of controllable aspects in their bubble. So, for the runner who turns up on race day to a strong breeze, or the racing driver who sees the forecast and there’s a storm coming in, having that ability to pause, and channel all their energies into what they can control.

So next time that moment occurs that used to trip you up, the top three tips are:

  1. Always pause, avoiding snap reactions based solely on emotion.

  2. Give yourself chance to think by taking five deep breaths.

  3. Decide if the situation deserves your emotional energy and if it doesn’t, focus your energies somewhere positive.

Author, Kevin Pickard

AP Race Coaches Network

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