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8300 Health Park Suite 201
Raleigh NC 27615
USA

919.676.9699

At Carolina Performance in Raleigh, our mission as psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists is to enhance the performance of our clients, resulting in a smarter approach to sports, a more effective work life, and an improved general well-being. We use mental training techniques to build upon existing skills, develop mental game plans, achieve individual and team goals, and maximize potential. 

Identifying & Eliminating Stress

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At Carolina Performance in Raleigh, our mission as psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists is to enhance the performance of our clients, resulting in a smarter approach to sports, a more effective work life, and an improved general well-being. We use mental training techniques to build upon existing skills, develop mental game plans, achieve individual and team goals, and maximize potential.

Identifying & Eliminating Stress

eric morse

Stress: unless you live a truly blessed life, everyone suffers from it. While stress is a different experience for everyone, sport psychologists have had a long interest in how athletes encounter, feel, avoid, and cope with stress. Although stress most definitely isn’t limited to athletes, much of the research done in these studies can be used by anyone!

It is important to consider the more common root causes of stress. One popular model in sport psychology is the stress and injury model from Andersen and Williams (1988). This model splits everyday stressors into two main categories: major life events and daily hassles.

Major life events are significant, often life-changing experiences like a divorce, the death of a loved one, or possibly a lost job. Research has shown that these events can play on our minds not only through anxiety and depression, but they can narrow our attention, contribute to sleeping problems, and even deplete our coping resources over time.

Daily hassles includes situations like spilt coffee, that annoying coworker, and even bad traffic. While certainly not as serious as major life events, the additive effect of these minor stressors throughout our day can have similar effects: anxiety, depression, and an inability to concentrate (which can lead to even more frustration through the day!).

The real question: How can we better cope with this stress, reducing our risk for these harmful effects? Sport psychologists have identified a few important ways we can decrease our stress levels and our body’s response to that stress. The best part is that anyone can use these strategies!

Cognitive techniques can help you manage stress by targeting your thoughts and perceptions like worry, anxiety, or pessimism. These strategies often help us react more calmly to stressors. Visualization and imagery are two popular cognitive techniques, and positive self-talkcognitive restructuring, and refocusing can also help calm your mind!

Somatic techniques attempt to calm the body’s response to stress. Classic examples are deep or rhythmic breathing. More recently, progressive muscle relaxation and biofeedback training have seen an increase in popularity.

There are also more advanced techniques, like Benson’s relaxation response and cognitive affective stress management training, which target both the cognitive and somatic aspects of stress.

Decreasing stress can have a huge effect on your performance, whether you are trying to improve results at work, in sports, in public speaking, in school, or in any other area of life! In our upcoming posts, we’ll talk more about how stress can impact your performance.

Jordan Long
Carolina Performance Intern
Master’s Student, Sport & Exercise Psychology at UNC-Greensboro
Correspondence can be directed to: jormlong@gmail.com

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