Jitters

Check facial expressions and position of the bodies of these players. Are they having jitters?

Check facial expressions and position of the bodies of these players. Are they having jitters?

How many times have you felt nervous before an event that was important? Whether it’s at school, at a college exam, an important presentation, a public speech or an important meeting. Even athletes are nervous and get the jitters before important matches or competitions.

Finals

I remember one September night in 2000. It was 2 am. I couldn’t sleep, tossing and turning, sheets on, sheets off . I went to the bathroom, washed my face and heard voices in the living room. In the living room of the quickly constructed wooden house,  6 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a kitchen turned into a bathroom, in the middle of the Olympic Village, somebody else is awake.

I find three other guys from my team. They are watching the big screen, the wrestling is on. They too do not sleep. Tomorrow, it’s the final.

Sydney 2000. The “Big Day” for all of us. Perhaps the only chance to win gold at the Olympics, the only one in my life. We are talking about tomorrow’s game and watching TV until 4 am. What should we do and how to win the biggest game of our lives. Adrenaline is at the maximum long before the game. Eventually we manage to fall asleep, I don’t remember how, but we definitely didn’t sleep very well. The rest is history.

The jitters

We all have the jitters before events that we consider important to us. Some have less, some have more. It is completely human and normal. Some of us have such a nervous system, that the jitters are high level, and others have lower level jitters. Once the event starts, whether its a match, appearance or speech, the jitters disappear and are replaced by action and focus.

The jitters are just a sign that we really care about what we do and that we want to succeed as much as possible.

Start to love your jitters, they just want to tell you that you need to prepare better, to remind you to do everything you can and thus improve your chances for success. The jitters are your friend. You need to hug them tightly and not fight against them.

The next time you feel them, tell them: ”Welcome!”. Thank them for coming. Just think how great you will feel later when everything is over and the event went even better that you expected.

Techniques

The good news is that there are various techniques to overcome the jitters. Various courses in psychology offer their different solutions.

The jitters, by definition, are a nervous tension, physiologically very similar to fear. They are connected to something that will happen in the future, but not now. The cause of the jitters is our mind. We create our own jitters and we are the ones who can manage them. The jitters are here to remind us of all we need to do before the future, in order to make the future fantastic.

Take a deep breath, let the air fill your stomach and breathe from the abdomen, come back to the here and now. If you are completely in the present, there are no jitters…

Various techniques of meditation, breathing, movements and some specific visualization, can help host the jitters as a dear guest, one which shows you how important you and your goals are.

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