How athletes can deal with anger and use it as a source of energy
Anger has always been a source of energy for some athletes. For some personality types it is an advantage to feel anger because it gives them power and drive. Roy Keane, the former Manchester United player for example. As long as it is only a short-term feeling, this kind of drive is fine. But the emotion of anger can also be dangerous. Let me explain why. For many of us, anger and rage in the belly tends to hinder and reduce performance.
Regardless of what type of person you are, you should know that on Hawkin's scale of consciousness, the emotion of anger is a rather low vibrational energy that causes contraction within us. Whereas expansive energies like joy are at the higher end of this list.
Why anger can be dangerous?
Short-term anger is a perfectly natural thing and you don't have to try to never be angry again. If you try to never be angry again you will not succeed. It´s like if I tell you NOT to think of a blue elephant. Our brain doesn't understand NOT. That's why it doesn't work very well when you tell a child NOT to climb on the scaffolding. But if you go through your life permanently angry then this low vibrating energy influences you and everyone around you negatively and can even lead to you becoming ill. Psychosomatics, as a medical field, has been dealing with the effect of our psyche on chronic diseases for a very long time and the connections are clearly proven.
What exactly can you do?
First of all, become aware of who or what is upsetting you. If you are honest with yourself, you will quickly realize that nothing can make you angry unless you let it. Worst case scenario, you become angry and then you even hold on to the feeling, and everything only gets worse from that moment on.
Let me give you an example and also two ways how you can handle a situation that upset you.
Let's say you are driving to the game and suddenly another driver pulls out of a driveway without paying attention. You have to brake hard to avoid an accident and the other driver just drives on without apologizing to you.
A very unwise way to deal with this situation would be to get upset and yell about it, show your middle finger and barely hold on to your car seat because of your anger. When you arrive at the stadium, you angrily tell all your teammates in the dressing room what happened to you today, that you almost had an accident and what an asshole that guy was. You carry that feeling of anger and fury with you all day.
You can hardly concentrate on the game because you constantly have this situation in your head. Of course, this distracts you and your performance is poor. The coach is unhappy with you, your teammates have the feeling you let them down today and the fans boo you. Maybe this has happened to you before, if so what have you learned from it?
Let me tell you how to deal with this situation in a wise way.
The situation remains exactly the same, only this time instead of getting furious you credit yourself with how quickly you reacted, that you were concentrated on the traffic, that you were not talking on the phone and thus were able to brake in time and avoid a possibly serious accident. Do you immediately feel the difference in the two emotions just by reading it? When you are now in the dressing room, you also tell about it and praise yourself again for how well you reacted in order to positively reinforce the emotion in you once again. This positive energy makes you wide awake for the tasks that await you during the game and accordingly your performance will be better.
Use this simple meditation technique
If you do find yourself in a situation where you are angry, try a simple meditation technique to relax yourself. It's called "Anapana" and all you have to do is watch your breath. The best thing to do is to find a quiet place where you can sit upright and then observe how you slowly inhale and exhale through your nose. Try to concentrate on the feeling of the breath coming in. How cold air flows into your nose and warm air flows out. If a thought comes into your mind, let it move on like a cloud and try to feel more calm again within 10 minutes. Afterwards, think about how you could have reacted better in the previously annoying situation. You simply imagine how you stayed calm and credit yourself for it.
You attract more of what you already have inside of you
In this way, the anger and the fury that often blinds you becomes less and your view becomes clearer and your frequency becomes positive again. Finally, it is important to mention that we function like magnets. If we produce negative energies through negative emotions, then we attract even more of these negative energies. If you carry positive emotions and energies in you then you will encounter much more good.
In this sense, all the best and best performance
To improve your emotional intelligence and learn more about my personal development courses specially designed for athletes, book a free trial session with me. Click here
yours Stefan Peter
About the author
Stefan Peter, MAS in Sports Health and Leadership
With more than a decade of coaching experience and my own background as a young athlete it is my goal to help you perform better, but most importantly help your personal growth on and off the pitch.
" So many young athletes only perform in training, but block their own performance when it gets tough. Not only do they risk loosing the love of the game but even worse developing mental health issues" - It is my passion and calling to help you overcome your limiting thoughts, emotions and beliefs.