Redirecting Stress into Performance

Running further, faster : a personal record

Did you ever had challenging situations where you felt being personally attacked but couldn’t respond back?

Or maybe that everyone was conspiring against you?

I’ve had several. Sometimes you can defuse or go past the attack. In others times, I could not do anything because the attack came from a boss or a client. The situation becomes a crisis for me when there are other people around. There’s feeling of shame, anger, and then thoughts of violence or revenge come to mind.

Other times, the challenging situation was grief. Losing a close person shatters your world. It just feels like somebody stabbed you in the guts.

This can be extremely stressful, and can lead to anxiety, depression, delusions or worse. It can impact your mental and physical health. How do you overcome the stress?

I have tried in the past many things. Sometimes, I deny then repress what happened. I try not to remember and press the bad thoughts into the unconscious. But it always comes back. In other times, I tried to rationalize. Maybe the person had a bad day? Maybe I deserved what happened? You can find lots of logical reasons why it ended up that way. But rationalization doesn’t solve negative emotion. Deep down, you still need emotional release. In a couple of times, I “transfer” the anger into another person. For example, if the client attacked me, I do the same to a coworker or a friend. But it just feels bad, and I just feel immature afterwards.

One way to help is write for emotional closure. You can also look for apologies or for reparation.

However, I found an efficient way to resolve this internal conflict is to redirect this stress into sport performance.

Before starting, I recognize the negative emotion. Later on, when I find myself out of breath, when it seems the last drop of energy has been consumed, I vividly recall the situation. I channel this into my legs, hand, and whole body. I find new energy and push further. The whole process of recalling and channeling energy repeats until exhaustion.

This allows me to run faster, to punch longer, to cycle further. It can be significant or just a 10% improvement. But others are always surprised by the performance. I get a personal record. I find I am released from the negative emotion. Because I’ve spent all my physical and mental strength, and there’s no more left in me to have anxious thoughts.

This is the case of sport. It also works in creative endeavors, for writing, cooking, photography or another activity you like practicing. I find this a mature way to transform unacceptable stress into personal performance. It works even if the negative emotion has no relationship with the activity.

Incorporate this technique into your training if you also find yourself under intense stress!

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