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Pass The Peace: Coping With Competition Stress

Getting prepared for any form of competition can be stressful to many of us. Learn how to reduce mental and physical stress

At my church we do something called "pass the peace". For those of you who have not had the chance to experience this, let me fill you in. This is where we welcome visitors into our church home.

In doing so, you are asked to give 8 people a good (Godly) hug and speak a blessing over them. Now some of you may ask why do you do such a ritual. It is not a ritual per se but an act of extending love and kindness. This is an opportunity for you to touch a life that is in much need of a hug to show that humanity still cares and is compassionate.

A Different Approach

Let's take another approach. When getting ready for a competition - bodybuilding, fitness, or whatever sport you are competitive in there are days when you feel like you are at your wits end and no one seems to care. You put a lot of time and energy, with training, and of course money into getting yourself into the best shape that you possibly can. By no means do you need any added stress in your life.

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." - Leo Buscaglia

So you do one of two things. Either surround yourself with friends and family that support you (those of you that have such a support team as I do can attest to how good that feels), or you alienate them to rid yourself of the unnecessary stress. Then there are some of you who only have yourselves to rely on to make it through this process.

Related Poll

How Well Do You Feel You Deal With Stress?

I Have High Anxiety.
I Get Stressed Sometimes.
I Am Relaxed All The Time. (No, I Am Not On Drugs)

It's "show time", time to present what you have worked so hard to achieve, you're back stage and it seems that everyone is into his/her zone or area of focus. Have you ever stopped and wondered, while you are in your zone, why you passed many other competitors, fans or people on the street and not even lifted your head to say hello or give a polite smile? Or think of how many times you have been accused of being in a bad mood or a lack of a better word "a total jerk?"

A non-smiling or non-friendly face can easily be misread. Even if your personality is not that way and you were just concentrating on the show at hand it is easy to be misunderstood.

Remember, first impressions are the ones that are usually the lasting ones. Now, I know you have a lot on your mind and don't feel the need to put any effort into going that extra mile to smile or be friendly, especially since you are dieting and conserving all the energy you have to make it through to compete. But does it take effort to be polite or even give a friendly smile?

I too have been misread and have misread others at times. Some of the people I misread because they had their "game face on" are now very close friends of mine and have wonderful personalities (keep in mind we should not be judgmental of others but it happens).

You may say that you are shy or even nervous when you are around people or you feel like, why should I care how people perceive me?

"Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal." - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Just think of a time when you just needed a smile or a friendly hello to break the cycle of a downward spiral in your day and how it made a world of a difference. Many times I have witnessed and know how intimidating it can be backstage at a show or just being surrounded by people you have never met.

The rush to get dressed and get on stage only to have to wait and then to hurry again! Whew! That can put even the nicest, laid back person on edge. Nonetheless, this is no excuse for not showing your best side and being polite.

Even though I sometimes still get nervous and just want to chill out, relax and focus on the competition without any other human contact, I still try to maintain a positive upbeat and friendly attitude.

Remember that you are not in this world alone and life is too short to walk around with a scowl or just an unfriendly attitude towards others. I am not saying be a nuisance, but try on a simple smile or say hello. You will be surprised how many people you can touch that just needed you to "pass the peace" to help them make it through their day.

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