4- Focus on the Now
The stressor: Your team’s success (or failure) is hanging on your performance in the ultimate contest.
Beat that stress: Focus on the now as well as the later. Martin Brodeur, star goalie for the New Jersey Devils, uses these techniques when he faces game 7 in the playoffs: “When it becomes stressful, I overbreathe. That opens up everything and makes me aware of the situation I’m in. I also make sure my feet are together as much as possible and that they’re really under me. With my feet together, I’m compact. It’s less tiring, and I’m lighter on my skates. As for when I’m not on the ice? Before game 7 of the 2003 Stanley Cup finals I booked a vacation online. It took me out of the anxiety of facing a game 7.” (The Devils won that game, 3-0.)
5- Take Your Kid on a Long Car Ride
The stressor: Your kid’s stressing but won’t tell you what it’s about.
Beat that stress: Take him on a long car ride. It’s private, and there’s little else to do but talk. Start out casually, and eventually bring up the struggles you faced at his age. He’ll either identify or tell you that it’s completely different now. Either way, the opening is there to gently find out which of three areas—school, friends, or family—isn’t working. “You’re getting new information and can take it to where the problem belongs,” says Irene Goldenberg, Ed.D., a family psychologist based in Los Angeles.
6- Go Into Training
The stressor: You have to make your case or lose the day.
Beat that stress: Before the straining, go into training. Steven D. Benjamin, a criminal-defense attorney in Richmond, Virginia, believes that discipline always carries the day. “Before the trial starts, everything in my life becomes more regimented. I don’t drink or go out, and I become more obsessive than usual about my workout. A trial is an endurance event, and training for it makes me much more alert. I also take care of my team members. I can’t see everything at trial. They’re my auxiliary hard drive, and they give me peace of mind.”