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1. Stress and anxiety are the biggest threats to your Zone. When tension creeps into your relaxed, high-energy, high-output state, your effort increases but your performance drops.
2. Deep, controlled breathing to calm anxiety or stress is called Combat Breathing. You can do it anytime you feel that you are out of your Zone.
3. The reason breathing is so effective is that the centres of your brain that control breathing are closely linked to the area that controls stress.
Today’s Exercise: Practice Combat Breathing
1) Get into good posture by aligning your spine and stretching yourself upward. You can be lying down, sitting in a chair or standing. Then relax your muscles.
2) Do a scan for tension in your body and then focus on that area while you take a slow deep breath. Think about “letting go” of the tension as you exhale. (It might take a few breaths to get an area like your shoulders or forehead to release and relax).
3) When you feel you have addressed the tense areas, start taking controlled breaths. (inhale for 4 seconds, hold it for 2 seconds, and then exhale for 6 seconds).
If you practice combat breathing every day, this exercise will become automatic on the day of your race, game, or performance.