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  1. evelyn metcalf says:

    I do believe that running from your fears, or alternatively spending every waking hour trying to clear your mind from thinking negative and fearful thoughts are just a serious waste of good energy.

    What I do believe is that to work with your fears; anxieties and all other types of negative thinking is a crucial move in the right direction learning how to manage fears in a positive way.

    In other words, definitely recognise each fear, or incidence of anxiety, and all those circumstances which cause a person to be fearful.

    Next step to ACKNOWLEDGE that situation momentarily – actually acknowledge the problem in your mind.

    Next step USE that negative situation as a ‘TRIGGER’ in order to mentally move into the “appropriate” learned ‘ROUTINE’ as mentally rehearsed many times, eg. “it might be a clenching of the fist; focussing on a particular happy place in your childhood; focussing on the laces in your shoes; focussing “on the breath; etc. etc. etc. and then always go back to the basics of your technique – keeping it simple, all the while using “centered” breathing.
    The idea is to fight “fire with fire” if you like – not run away which is only using a “bandaid” solution hoping all the while that it will just go away. – a “mind shift” allowing an athlete or musician to go from being mentally “bogged” down by fear or doubts, to a positive mindset using well rehearsed routines for all of these types of stressful situations encountered in their daily programmes whatever they are.

    I believe it is something that most of us have to deal with on many occasions throughout most of our lifetimes – the difference is that some people learn how to recognise the issue or problem – use the incident as a “trigger” to immediately go into the “appropriate” routine for that particular situation and move on.

    The main problem as I see it some people believe in “mental training” and some don’t. Being able to convince athletes and/or musicians to mentally rehearse different routines to cope with different scenarios that might happen at any given time is, and does become a fulltime project for the coach and “on-going Plans for all “what if” situations for the client becoming a “lifetime of “WORK IN PROGRESS”.

    This is a complex serious subject requiring an holistic approach in order to help people to understand that “on-going” positive good mental training with review of goals on a regular basis and persistent practice regarding their routines must almost become habitual if they are serious about being the “best they can be”. The more often and skilled they become in using “ROUTINES” when and whenever they need them in all ‘WHAT-IF’ situations,without realising it, their confidence levels go through the roof, because they suddenly realise that their plans are helping them to get on with the job, and stay ‘IN THE PRESENT’ whatever that may be.

    Evelyn Metcalf

    • Dr. Diana Allan says:

      Evelyn, thanks again for your insightful comments! It’s always a pleasure to hear your perspective. I agree that dealing with fear and anxiety can be a complex issue for performers. When performers recognize that what and how they think influences how they feel and perform, they are taking the first two steps you mention above—recognizing and acknowledging. Then, the performer needs to learn that they don’t have to be a victim of their thoughts or thinking habits. We can make the “mind shift” you speak of and kick those ineffective and harmful thoughts to the curb. Have a great day!!!

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