The first and most important factor in optimizing your performance potential is adopting the ability to control your emotions in crazy situations (really in just any situation). These situations frequently occur in sports, in cases where a torrential downpour reduces our ability to see the field and the opponent scores on a freak bounce; or when referees seem to be in the pocket of the other team, things like these tend to get in the way and get your blood boiling. You go into a physical state of deep anger and frustration, where you feel your heartbeat in your throat, and your breath becomes short and shallow. This state does not support performance. So, at times like this, handling these emotions is key. Listed below are three ways to manage your emotional response.

1) Ask yourself, ‘WHERE YOU AT?’

Understanding where you are and what you are there for, allows you take a quick assessment of your physical and mental state. We all know that staying pissed and negative does not help you achieve anything and will move not move either you or your team forward. Therefore, it’s wise to do something about it.

A saying in the field comes at this time and it’s something to live by: It’s ok to be in that poopy state sometimes. However, it’s NOT ok to STAY there.

2) So now you know where you at… Positive?… Green?… Good, move forward. Negative?… Red?… BREATH!

Yes, the most cliche thing in the world. However, it really is the most helpful thing we can do to move our minds and bodies back into a state of readiness and performance rather than a state of SUCK.Learn to take deep, long breaths that allow your stomach pop out; it’s more like filling a balloon in your stomach with the air as you breathe in. After which, you control the release of your breath with your stomach muscles and that big freaking muscle called the diaphragm. Note: Why breath into your stomach? Simple answer, if your freaking out, or angry, or just in a poopy place, that diaphragm is typically clinched up towards your lungs, which reduces the amount of air you can breathe. The less oxygen you have, the poopier you are going to feel, and the easier it is going to be to get on your own back and all negative in the head.

3) Step 3 is actually the fun part, W.I.N!

This stage 3 is the fun part. Since you have successfully fulfilled step one and two by being aware of your negative state, taken a few good deep breaths to reset yourself and provided a favorable environment to move forward, the question now would be, So, what next?

Well, that’s entirely up to you. Hopefully, you have the ability to make the right decision, to act in a way that will be beneficial to you. Something that might help guide that decision is knowing W.I.N. (What’s Important Now). Answering this question will help you take a meaningful action and move you closer to achieving your day’s goals.

And that’s really it. Might seem simple but the fact is, it’s effective at helping us reset and move into a performance state that is helpful. I personally like to start the process with ‘WHERE YOU AT’ periodically when I find myself in things I have to do but don’t necessarily WANT to do. I actually started by setting a timer on my phone with a reminder every 30 minutes at work.

If you’re reading this, then you are looking to change some things in your action and attitude. If you want to take this all seriously, then I challenge you to actually take these ideas and put it into practice. The mental training field likes to call this flexing your mental muscle. The mind is just like muscle mass. You must train it, push it, and tear it in order for it to grow. In the same way, we must train the mind, push the mind, and tear old ineffective concepts in the mind in order to optimize our performance.

Do you have anything you do to help you stay calm and composed under pressure? Let us know in the comments section below!