PVC Mental Strategy 82

don’t panic!

Swimmers often experience a sudden uncontrollable feeling of panic (in practice or competition) that results in irrational thinking or behavior; it may occur when facing a challenging training set or racing against a fierce opponent. Whatever the cause, gaining control of the situation must be a top priority.

The signs of a panic attack include:

• anxious and irrational thinking
• a strong feeling of dread
• feeling lightheaded and dizzy
• tingling and chills
• trembling, shaking, or sweating
• hot flashes
• accelerated heart rate
• shortness of breath
• nausea or abdominal distress
• tense muscles
• dry mouth

If you find yourself in panic’s grip, I recommend adopting one or more of the following techniques:

• avoid self-talk that focuses attention on your symptoms
• refrain from telling yourself to relax or stop panicking
• remind yourself that your symptoms are uncomfortable but not life-threatening
• reassure yourself that you’ve felt these feelings before and nothing happened to you
• focus on something else like counting backward (in threes) from 100
• sit or stand quietly and allow your symptoms to pass

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