5 Techniques to Calm Yourself Down to Achieve Peak Performance
Updated: Jun 6, 2019
What is Peak Performance?
The term Peak Performance comes from sports. It describes a state of optimal functioning. Actually, it can be applied in any area of life and it is not restrained to sports. Extraordinary performance, be it in education, business, sports, or other areas can be described as Peak Performance.
What are the characteristics of Peak Performance?
There are two important main characteristics than constitute Peak Performance: focused attention and supreme confidence. During Peak Performance, no single thought is wasted on anything else than the task at hand, there is no rumination, no boredom. It is accompanied by supreme confidence which comes from exactly knowing what one wants to do and being absolutely positive about giving one's best to achieve it.
When are the techniques helpful? What are their benefits?
The techniques should be used directly before or during the task execution. If the task is a very short one, doing the technique during it might not be helpful, rather you would want to do it before. For all other tasks, the techniques can be applied before and during the task.
Additionally, it can be helpful to do (some of) these techniques on a daily or weekly basis to be calmer and concentrated in general.
How do the techniques work?
The techniques have cognitive, emotional, and physiological effects I described in my video about them (see below).
Technique 1: Diaphragmatic Breathing
Diaphragmatic in this case simply means that you breathe to your stomach (your stomach expands when you breathe in). The breathing should be deep yet slowly.
How do I use this technique?
I breathe in through my nose for a count of 4 (feeling my stomach expand), hold my breath for a count of 7, and breath out through my mouth for a count of 8. In most cases, I repeat this three to four times.
Technique 2: Meditation
Meditation is one of the techniques that came (and continues coming) more and more into awareness in the Western world. Because there are heaps of resources to be found online, I will not go into more detail but rather give you some links:
7 Minute Forrest
Headspace (mindfulness courses and mobile apps)
You can find many more resources in different languages and on different topics, for example on YouTube. One YouTube channel I really like (in Spanish) is the one of Ivan Donalson (I actually used this guided meditation of his this morning)
Technique 3: Body Scan
When performing a body scan, we bring different parts of our body into our awareness and relax them. You can do it right away. Become aware of the different muscles of your head (e.g. skull, eyes, nose, cheeks, ears, etc.) and let go of any tension. Then progress to your neck, shoulders, arms, hands, chest, back, stomach, hip, legs, and feet. Take your time to progress and continue to the next after relaxing one part of your body.
Often body scans are combined with meditation practices and one I have used is Headspace.
Technique 4: Visualisation
When we visualise something in our head, it affects how we feel. So, to calm ourselves down, we can visualise something that relaxes us. That could be, for example, a beautiful scene in nature or simply the feeling of being calm and peaceful.
Check out the links I've compiled, I hope you find them valuable
Technique 5: Affirmations
This technique is similar to the energising verbal cues of the blog post on energising techniques. You also talk to yourself (either loudly or internally). Affirmations can reduce your stress levels; to achieve that, affirm that you can do what you're trying to do, for example I know I can do this! I will be able to achieve this! I am contempt and peaceful! I am relaxed!
So, slow down, take a moment to appreciate yourself in this very moment and be more at ease. Again, you don't have to speak the affirmations out loudly (although that might be more powerful).
If you speak more than one language, it can also be very powerful to say the affirmations in all the languages you know because in every one of them they will affect you a bit differently.
similar to energising techniques talk to yourself
Combinations of techniques are actually the best way to affect your body. You can think of combining meditation and visualisation with affirmations, for example. Try out what you like and what helps you best. Every person responds differently to these techniques.
More about Peak Performance
I have created more articles about Peak Performance and a Youtube playlist with videos explaining the concepts.
Videos: Peak Performance 1/4 How to Energise Yourself: 4 Techniques You Can Directly Use
Peak Performance 2/4 How to Calm Yourself Down: 5 Techniques You Can Directly Use
Peak Performance 3/4 The Value of Stress
Peak Performance 4/4 The Best Level of Stress
Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash