It’s all about breathing and confidence
Written by Sadie Wirthlin
Just last month, the 2016 Summer Olympics filled the air with excitement and inspiration. Every four years, thousands of athletes come together to compete for the gold and to accomplish goals they have been working towards their whole lives. These athletes are role models to many people around the world, examples of dedication and success. So what tips can they give us ‘ordinary’ folk? Olympic gymnast and champion Lauren Hernandez has some great confidence-boosting tips that anyone can do!
Lauren is only sixteen years old, and she dominated the Olympic gymnastics floor in Rio, Brazil. If you had the chance to watch her, you can tell she is calm and confident, and she sticks her routines—even when all eyes are on her! Before she performs, you can see her placing a hand on her stomach and breathing deeply; she whispers words of encouragement to herself and smiles constantly . . . and these tricks seem to be working.
Sports psychology consultant Robert Andrews says that this pre-performance routine is not just a part of Lauren’s fun personality, but is a valuable practice for both proper mindset and optimal performance. First, take some deep breaths. Andrews says that “oxygen is the cure for stress and anxiety.” Some individuals, like Lauren, hold stress in their stomach, so breathing deeply through the diaphragm can release tension and decrease the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the brain. This is exactly what happens when Lauren places her hands on her stomach and closes her eyes before performing.
The second step is all about positive thinking.
Lauren’s pep talk of “I got this” has become famous, and Andrews affirms that wherever you “point your mind, your body follows.”
Lauren has coupled her personal pep talk with confident body language and posture; in return, she gets increased testosterone and decreased stress-related hormones. This causes greater assertiveness and the confidence needed to accomplish the task at hand.
Like Lauren, you too can put these simple stress-relieving routines to use! And the best part is that these tips are for all areas of life, not just sports. Be aware of your breathing, and slow it down in stressful or anxious situations. Create your own pep talk that sparks your brain with the positivity it needs, and walk with confidence. It won’t be long before you will see just how these simple practices can help you stick it!
Source: The Confidence-Boosting Mental Tricks of an Olympic Gymnast. Amanda MacMillan. August 16, 2016. Time.com.