During my time as a national athlete, I could have used heaps more clarity and confidence. One time, I remember being in Australia on tour for the Hong Kong National Netball Team, that I stayed awake all night before a competition, worrying about whether I could put the ball in the basket the next day. How bizarre, losing sleep over a sport I loved, why do we do this to ourselves?
Why is it we put ourselves under enormous amounts of pressure to do well, improve or do the right thing, especially now during the lockdown; to eat well, stay connected, get involved and be on-line, with everyone else keeping fit? What if, our state of mind is not willing? It is no surprise that people get a sense of being left behind hopelessly struggling, with low self-esteem, and falling energy levels.
As a mental skills specialist, my affirmations reminded me of all the times I had performed out of my skin. Positive self-talk and visualisation practise calming my busy mind filled my training diary. My knowledge of NLP and CBT developed my capacity to be mentally and emotionally aware and re-frame my thinking to reroute from habitual negative behaviours. Yet, none of these techniques brought me the confidence I needed to sleep easy and perform well. There were times when it felt agonisingly painful, leaving my whole body hurting, and my breathing shallow. The sport was impacting my mental health and wellbeing, which ultimately hindered my performance and results.