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If you suffer from pre-race or event nerves but want to feel excited, calm and confident instead, then start adding this one word to your vocabulary.
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Pre-race nerves affect athletes at every level and often stems from your body asking ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’, as it knows the stress it’s about to be put through, and the fear of failure – and/or fear of success.
Experiencing pre-race nerves is perfectly normal and can be beneficial, as the physical and psychological symptoms of nervousness get your body and mind in the best state for your race.
World record holder and adventurer, Squash Falconer, sees feeling nervous before taking off for a paraglide as a healthy part of the experience, helping her prime her body and mind for the event and reminding her to have a healthy respect for the laws of physics to keep her out of trouble.
However, when your pre-race nerves and anxiety take you for a ride and sabotage your race, that’s when you have a problem. So what can you do about it?
More often than not, people unwittingly talk and think their way into their pre-race nerves, and fortunately, it’s just as easy to talk and think your way out of them, into a positive and useful state of your desires.
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Many people become stuck in thinking that you cannot change how you react to or feel about something – that you are passive towards it. But If you’re reading this, I know you’re smarter than them!
For example, I hear many tell me that they always get very nervous before a race – that the race makes them feel very nervous.
However, the problem with this statement is that it’s not completely true…
As the race is not making them feel nervous, what is causing them to feel nervous is themselves.
We can’t change the race, from the course and weather to other participants and technical difficulties. And it’s not fair that we should be left at the whim of something we can’t influence.
Now, I don’t have a magic spell for you, but I do have one word for you that is just as magical: Dû
The dû verb helps us to move from something we can’t do anything about, something passive, such as ‘My race is coming up and it’s making me feel nervous’, to something active, to something we can influence, such as ‘My race is coming up and I am dûing nervousness about it’.
Dû says it is you who is unconsciously and unintentionally involved in feeling (or I should say dûing) nervousness.
It is your thoughts and nervous system that are creating this nervous feeling and therefore you have the power to influence it.
So the dû allows us to recognise that we have some degree of influence over how we feel in situations that we used to think we were passive in.
By using dû, it highlights when you are in this passive relationship to stuff, such as race day, and it allows you to recognise when you have some degree of influence, such as how you feel on race day.
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So now we know we have a degree of influence over how we feel about and on race day, my next question is: What could you actively do to move into a positive state on race day? Let me know what has and hasn’t worked for you below!