Clients frequently tell me that they want to “get rid of anxiety and negativity.” The reality is that we always have the ability to be happy, sad, angry, afraid, confident, calm, content, enraged, overcome with laughter, frozen with surprise, and yes, anxious and negative. We are alive, vibrant, reactive, complicated individuals. However, we can learn to modulate and regulate our responses. Specifically, in the world of peak performance we can use symptoms to our advantage, as positive triggers, to reconnect with our zone.
My personal history with experiencing self-criticism and what-ifing, and in turn helping others to understand these negative reactions to our environment while providing the tools needed to work through them, doesn’t mean that I’m not prone to flare-ups. These symptoms reverberated through me for many years, wreaking havoc with their unpredictability and toxic energy on and off the basketball court. They may still show themselves from time to time before a speaking engagement or during a workshop with a team.
These symptoms continue to live inside of me. But presently, they are microscopic. It’s not possible to get rid of them completely. When these symptoms are provoked, I recognize the triggers, which allow me to launch into my inner dialogue: “Thank you, what-if, for reminding me what-will it be like when I succeed. Thank you, self-criticism, for reminding me to talk to myself like I would a good friend.”
This inner dialogue dissolves the symptoms back to their microscopic resting place. I use the symptoms of anxiety and negativity as powerful reminders to support myself and to zone–in.