Breathe and Focus
Oxygen is energy—it’s juice. Oxygen helps relax muscles and clear the mind.
When you hold your breath, you are creating pressure and a nervous feeling. Athletes who choke at the start, become nervous about being nervous. Anxious about being anxious. One psychologist says anxiety is excitement ‘without the breath.’
The pattern of your breathing affects the pattern of your performance. When you are under stress, deep breathing helps bring your mind and body back into the present.
Over the years I have handed out thousands of little stickers to athletes that read ‘Breathe and Focus.’ A baseball player will place the bright orange circle on the shoulder of his uniform or underneath the bill of his cap, or on the barrel of his bat. A hockey player might affix it to his stick. Firefighters I have worked with place the stickers on their self-contained breathing apparatus.
The stickers serve as a reminder. Whenever they feel themselves growing anxious, breathe in energy. Breathe out negativity. Breathe in relaxation. Breathe out stress.”
–Gary Mack from Mind Gym