Whether you’re a retailer, teaching pro or manager, using the same key mental strategies as top athletes can help you weather the economic storm.
Given the tough economic times we are all experiencing, keeping a cool head is no easy task. Fortunately, many of the same mental skills that help top athletes perform at their best can help you better weather the financial crisis and its consequences.
It’s unlikely any of us have escaped the fallout from the worst financial crisis to hit this country since the Great Depression. Whether it’s struggling to avoid foreclosure, the evaporation of your retirement account, the shakiness of the job market, or the reduction in store sales or lesson income, dealing with major losses and the uncertainty of the future presents unique challenges to our mental and emotional well being.
Here are some strategies and reminders to help you move forward in a positive way.
- FORGET THE PAST: What’s done is done. Since you can’t change it, learn from it and move on. You may need to cut your expenses, lower your margins, offer creative programs to get new students and so on. Focus on what you can do to position yourself for what may be tougher economic times ahead.
- SELF-CARE: Don’t compound your problems by adding to them. Take care of your health. Be sure to eat well, rest, exercise and get regular check-ups. Putting off these basics may result in bigger and more expensive problems down the road.
- RELAX AND RECOVER: Incorporate a “relaxation” technique into your daily life. For example, take several long, slow, deep relaxed breaths every hour or so during the day. Stretch, practice Tai Chi or take a yoga class.
- LAUGH: Remember, “Don’t take life so seriously; you’ll never get out of it alive.” Have fun. Walk on the “light side.”
- OPTIMISM: Associate as much as possible with “positive” people while keeping your distance from the “naysayers.”
- LIMITS: Limit your watching, listening and reading of the news. Most of the news is designed to “shock” us by focusing in on the “best of the worst” in our world. Unless you are a day trader, it really shouldn’t matter much whether the market goes up or down on a particular day.
- STRAIGHT THINKING: Be careful not to distort or exaggerate negative events. Don’t be overly concerned about predicting the future. Even professional meteorologists can’t precisely predict tomorrow’s weather!
- GET UNPLUGGED: Unless you are a surgeon on call, do you really need to be connected 24/7? Unwind your body and mind and you will find yourself taking more things in stride, reacting more appropriately and making better decisions.
- PERSPECTIVE: “Tough times never last, tough people do.” Don’t sweat the small stuff. Be grateful for what you have in your life beyond material possessions. Think about your friends and family. “Relationships” are the true currency of life.
See all articles by Robert F. Heller
About the Author
Dr. Robert F. Heller is a psychologist and consultant in the areas of performance enhancement and stress management. He is the author of Mental Skills for Match Play and Mental Toughness. For information on telephone consultation, products, and other services, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, thewinningedge.usptapro.com, or 561-451-2731. He is based in Boca Raton, Fla.