Stress in any line of work is inevitable.
All of these coping mechanisms are good but kinda useless for people who deal with high levels of stress in public.
Take Steph Curry for example. The guy is pretty damn clutch, but that doesn’t mean one of the most prolific shooters to ever play in the NBA doesn’t feel stress.
Curry spoke to ESPN about dealing with pressure and incredibly intense game moments and the Warriors star shared a fascinating way to deal with the feeling the world is watching while you do your job.
Curry tenses up even more, on purpose, and then releases the tension all at the same time.
The survival technique was suggested by a former assistant coach after he noticed Curry tended to shake his leg on the bench during moments of high drama in a game.
Earlier in Curry’s career when the game was tight and he was on the bench, former Warriors assistant coach Keith Smart noticed that Curry’s leg would quiver. “It was almost like a nervous twitch,” Curry reports.
Smart offered a suggestion to Curry: Purposely tense all the muscles in his body, hold it, feel the stress, then suddenly release.
“You start with every muscle you think you can control in a neutral position, and then when you tighten them, I think your body thinks, ‘Well, this is as stressed as your body can be,'” Curry explains. “So when you let all that go, maybe that’s how the endorphins kick in.
Curry is executing what’s known as “progressive muscle relaxation.” This is the act of purposely tensing the muscles and then releasing them.
It’s kinda like Dr. Bruce Banner explains in the first Avengers film when asked how he controls his anger and keeps The Hulk at bay. Banner admitted he was “always angry.”
If your body is taut, feeling just slightly tense will feel like NBD.
According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress – including work-related – causes your muscles to tense for longer periods. This often leads to migraines, headaches, and fatigue.
If this sounds like your job, and your life in general, it might be worth giving progressive muscle relaxation a shot.
Here’s a brief tutorial from the University of Michigan School of Medicine.
- Choose a place where you won’t be interrupted and where you can lie down on your back and stretch out comfortably, such as a carpeted floor
- Breathe in, and tense the first muscle group (hard but not to the point of pain or cramping) for 4 to 10 seconds
- Breathe out, and suddenly and completely relax the muscle group (do not relax it gradually)
- Relax for 10 to 20 seconds before you work on the next muscle group. Notice the difference between how the muscles feel when they are tense and how they feel when they are relaxed.
- When you are finished with all of the muscle groups, count backward from 5 to 1 to bring your focus back to the present.
If this doesn’t work, maybe it’s time to quit your job.