1. Often, when in a high pressure situation, we let our emotions drive our actions. We might feel anxious, scared, or tense. This leads us to have negative thoughts and ultimately a diminished performance (this is called Feel-Think-Act).
2. Act-Think-Feel has the opposite effect: if you move your body in a particular way – by consciously smiling, taking deep breaths, or purposely standing tall – you tell your body to release hormones that change the way you think and feel.
3. By exploring how you were acting, thinking, and feeling during previous zone moments, you can learn to recreate your zone moments by acting the part.
As we continue to look at the Zone more clearly, let’s add techniques for controlling your flow state.
Shortly before the London Olympics, diver Alexandre Despatie was training in Spain when he hit his head on the board, leading to a concussion and a 10 cm gash in his forehead that required surgery. With the games only a few weeks away, the injury was shocking.
Alex followed his doctor’s return-to-sport protocol closely and resumed training 10 days after the accident. And by the time the games arrived, he was ready to compete, which would require him to perform the same dive that had led to his injury.
If you put yourself in Alex’s shoes (or bare feet), you can imagine the emotion of performing that dive in front of thousands of people and millions of viewers. How would you feel? Tense? Nervous? Scared? Anxious?
He was none of these. I know, because I happened to be there that day to see him use a deliberate technique to prepare for the dive. He stood under the board going through the motions of the dive – right down to the facial expression – acting as if there were no fear or tension in his body.
By acting the part, he was able to get his thoughts and feelings to come along. I call it Act – Think – Feel.
The basic physiology is simple: if you move your body in a particular way – say by consciously smiling by contracting the muscles in your face – you tell your body to release hormones that change the way you think and feel.
The challenge we all face is that this is not the typical sequence. Usually, negative emotions like fear, nervousness, or anger come first and then create negative thoughts that lead to particular actions. Usually, it’s Feel – Think – Act. But like everything else, we can create a more healthy and effective way of living if we deliberately use our knowledge of physiology.
Here are some examples of Act – Think – Feel:
- You are nervous about asking your supervisor for a new opportunity at work: before you enter the meeting, you stand as tall and straight as possible, then take long strides into the room, then look your supervisor in the eye while offering a warm greeting. These physical acts will direct your thoughts and increase your confidence.
- Your toddler is having a meltdown in public: the turmoil of the moment and the people staring are unnerving you, but you decide to proceed with a calm manner. You take a deep breath and relax your tensing body, then remove your child and yourself from the public place and proceed to manage the situation privately. Your decision to act calmly has helped your mind to become more composed and reasonable.
Regardless of how you’re feeling, always adopt a posture of confidence and control – which doesn’t mean tight and tense. Breathe deeply and relax. Unclench your hands. Change your thoughts and emotions through action. You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve!
Today's POWER-UP: Act-Think-Feel
USE THE ACT-THINK-FEEL TECHNIQUE TO RE-CREATE YOUR FLOW STATE ON DEMAND, ANYTIME YOU WANT, RATHER THAN JUST HAVING IT “HAPPEN”.
THINK ABOUT THE LAST TIME YOU PERFORMED REALLY WELL AT SOMETHING. MAKE A MENTAL NOTE OF THAT MOMENT—OR WRITE IT DOWN—THEN ASK YOURSELF A FEW QUESTIONS.
1. WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE THAT MOMENT? WHAT WERE YOUR ACTIONS? WERE YOU STRETCHING? DID YOU HAVE A GOOD BREAKFAST? FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU WERE DOING. WRITE IT DOWN IN The Zone Workbook OR IN THE FORM BELOW.
2. NOW YOU NEED TO FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU WERE THINKING. WERE YOU LISTENING TO A PODCAST OR TO MUSIC? DID YOU TELL YOURSELF WHAT YOU WERE GOING TO DO? WHAT MINDSET DID YOU HAVE? WRITE IT DOWN IN The Zone Workbook OR IN THE FORM BELOW.
3. THE FINAL STEP IS TO REMEMBER WHAT YOU WERE FEELING. WHAT WERE YOUR EMOTIONS? WERE YOU ANGRY? EXCITED? MOTIVATED? HAPPY? WRITE IT DOWN IN The Zone Workbook OR IN THE FORM BELOW.
WHAT YOU’LL END UP WITH IS THE ROADMAP FOR THE PROCESS ELITE ATHLETES GO THROUGH WHEN THEY’RE PREPARING FOR AN EVENT. THE BEST PUBLIC SPEAKERS USE THIS PROCESS AS WELL. THAT’S WHY ATHLETES AND PUBLIC FIGURES HAVE ROUTINES THAT THEY’RE ALMOST RELIGIOUS ABOUT KEEPING.
THEY KNOW THAT IF THEY DO SPECIFIC THINGS, THEY WILL GIVE THEMSELVES THE BEST CHANCE OF PERFORMING AT THEIR BEST.
The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist Sky Regional employees with improving their general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. Sky Regional is not responsible for the content of this program which has been specially developed and is being provided to you by the Wells Group Inc., in consultation with Sky Regional. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release Sky Regional and the Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.