Here's a powerful tool for handling stress

EFT is like acupuncture without the needles

A little book called The Inner Game of Tennis, by W. Timothy Gallwey, caught my attention in 1985 as a result of the mental war zone that I found myself in any time I stepped into a competitive arena.  In a nutshell, this book was all about overcoming self-doubt and inner stress that robs athletes of their ability to concentrate and achieve their desired athletic goal — or any goal, for that matter. 

At 28, as a World Tae Kwon Do Federation 2nd degree black belt, I trained six days a week and up to six hours a day for the Colorado State Championship, only to find myself faced with an opponent 10 years my junior.  My trainer, a 7th degree black belt from Korea, was a big believer in the concept of integrating mind focus, body focus and spirit focus for peak athletic performance.  I had all that inner game going on in the ring until my opponent knocked me out with a swift illegal kick to the head. 

As I slowly regained consciousness, a fire began to build in my gut. I remember thinking, “I did not put in years of training to go down like this.” Just then, an emotional surge from the primal brain kicked in, jolting me back on my feet just before the final count. My ability to access acuity of focus and athletic agility was replaced by the fight mode of my primal brain. I unleashed on my opponent like a crazy spider monkey: all technique and form was out the door. It was jungle time. 

In the distance, I could hear my trainer bellowing out commands in a futile effort to mentally reign me back into the game.  Each attempt he made was steam rolled by my innate jungle-like reactive response.  Have you ever experienced an animalistic response to circumstance right in the middle of a personal goal, only to lose your technique and skill-set in the midst of a mental spin?

As an athlete metaphorically and/or physically, I am sure you have heard before that it is all about the inner game: how well we are able to maintain the concentration in the midst of external distractions. In the workplace, there are numerous shiny objects that hold the potential each day to bump us off focus and optimal performance.

Yet there is another component that is worth addressing: your biology. Simply put, stress is a signal within the body giving us an opportunity to identify and adjust our perception of any situation. It is essential that the biological signal be addressed for us to regain access to mental concentration and achieve peak performance in the heat of the game.

Stress affects the working memory, your external focus (visual, auditory & kinesthetic acuity) and internal focus (what you think and the biological effects of what you think). When the primal brain kicks in, which it will each time you feel threatened in any way, you are blocked from your ability to access the parts of the brain responsible for solution based thinking and focused attention.

Have you ever been spun off your A-game because of a response or lack of response from a co-worker and or manager? It is amazing how much free rent we give in our mind to the opinions of other people which instantly dilutes the best version of ourselves personally and professionally.

A proven technique to help relax your biology in the midst of emotional flare-ups, which often emerge on the fields, waters, courses and rings of athletic performances, is known as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).  Basically, this technique is known as acupuncture without the needles. You stimulate the same meridian system used in acupuncture but instead of needles you use your fingertips. 

As you tap on specific points to release trapped tension (energy) in the body while focusing on whatever thought is stressing you, you regain your ability to access the memory associated with athletic performance.  It addresses the expression of stress right where it manifests: in your body. EFT is a powerful offensive skill that can be used in the personal and professional ring of life: I used it successfully throughout two years of cancer treatment. Because this technique engages your thoughts and your biological response at the same time, the result leads to higher personal excellence and performance on all levels.

Go here to watch a 10-minute EFT demonstration.

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