Managing everyday anxiety: top tips from LTA Performance expert
• 3 MINUTE READ
Anxiety - an emotion that many of us are far too familiar with to some level. It impacts us all in different ways and, at times, can alter and shape our daily lives, but how do we manage it?
The truth is, there is no quck fix; our own mental health is unique. However, there are countless coping mechanisms that you can use to better manage and mitigate your body's overwhelming response to stressors.
In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Week, Performance Lifestyle National Lead Rachel Newnham shared her top tips to self-care when faced with heightened levels of anxiety.
“’Box breathing’ is the most common breathing technique,” explained Rachel. “It’s designed to make you aware of your senses and bring you back to the present. It aims to return your breathing to its normal rhythm after a stressful experience and can help clear the mind, relax the body, and improve focus.”
This involves these four basic steps, each lasting four seconds:
- Breathing in
- Holding the breath
- Breathing out
- Holding the breath
Beyond regulating your breathing, other methods such as mindfulness can assist in keeping the mind in the present moment. Rachel added, “Mindfulness is a technique that many criticise before trying it, but it's all about finding something that works best for you. Some people prefer a guided meditation, others prefer listening to stories.”
A popular option amongst British tennis players is an app called Headspace – the leading company in the industry that brings meditation to the masses at the touch of a button.
“Finding an affirming mantra can also help in giving you something to focus on when feeling anxious,” Rachel continued. “It can be a single sentence, or a word. For example, tennis players could use ‘focus’, ‘power’, or ‘control’.
"Other non-tennis examples may include ‘I am strong’, ‘I am amazing’. Once you have your mantra, you need to keep it rooted in your mind so when you’re feeling anxious, you can take yourself back to a moment where you felt focused, powerful, and in control.”
Listening to music and undergoing forms of exercise can also be very effective in alleviating immense feelings of angst.
However, what about when you're in need of instant relief, say if you were experiencing a panic attack?
The 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique is a method that interlinks with practicing mindfulness as, again, it helps you to clear the mind and focus on the present.
Wellbeing in tennis
Tennis is a fantastic sport for everyone to be involved in and can have a positive effect on your wellbeing. Find out more ways to manage your mental well-being via our website.