Athletes call it the Zone.
Meditators call it the Mindfulness State.
Researchers call it the Flow State.
Whatever name you call it… the experience is powerful, unforgettable and fun!
My goal is to help you get “In the Zone” more often. Research has shown us… the Zone is a unique combination of physiology, psychology and mental focus.
Experience has taught me… the process of getting in the Zone is best achieved by following three simple steps.
In this article we are going to “focus” on Step 1… accessing a state of Calm.
No matter the sport… when you seek peak performance, the process begins with accessing a feeling of Calm. Even if you can’t fully access the Zone… learning to be Calm while performing will transform the quality, consistency and joy of all your performances.
By the way… performances are not limited to sport. Music, art, work, gaming and writing are just a few of the performances that can be enhanced by accessing Calm on command.
Why is Calm so important?
Because Calm has very powerful effects on your performance physiology, psychology and focus.
The physiology of Calm…
Did you know when you are in the Zone your brain waves are at a very specific frequency?
This frequency is the core of your Zone experience.
If you want to access the ideal brain wave frequency you must first quiet your thoughts, quiet your emotions and access an overall feeling of Calm.
Think of the desired state of Calm (and the ideal brain wave frequency) as a lake with a surface that is smooth as glass.
Thoughts and emotions are like winds that cause varying degrees of surface chop and waves on the lake.
The more surface chop and waves… the more distractions you experience and the lower your potential is for peak performance.
Your brain waves are very much like the waves on the like.
The more thoughts and emotions you are experiencing… the higher your brain wave frequency is and the lower your performance potential is.
The bottom line of brain waves and performance is… the lower your brain wave frequency, the better chance you have for accessing Calm and achieving Zone performance.
The psychology of Calm.
Trust is the most powerful positive psychological component of Zone performance.
When you Trust your skills and your training… you give yourself the best chance to perform at the highest level of your trained skills.
Calm and Trust go hand in hand.
The only way to access Calm while performing… is to Trust that you can accomplish your goal.
If you feel the need to think about the specifics of what you want to do… you are essentially telling yourself that you do not Trust what you have trained.
Intuitively… we understand negative emotions of any kind will completely undermine Trust and disturb Calm.
Surprisingly… even positive emotions can disturb your level of Calm and undermine your self-Trust.
This is because all emotions raise the frequency of your brain waves which takes you away from the state of Calm.
I am not saying positive emotions are not helpful at times… but your level of Calm is always directly influenced by your ability to minimize thoughts and emotions.
The mental focus of Calm.
As much as we would love to believe that we can multi-task…neuroscience tells us it is not true.
When we have multiple goals or focus on multiple tasks during performance… we are causing our brain to switch our attention back and forth between the tasks.
This switching dramatically slows down information processing and… makes a state of Calm inaccessible.
Imagine your focus is a laser pointer.
When you have one goal… the laser pointer stays focused in one place which allows you minimize distraction and maximize Calm.
When you have multiple goals… it is like switching the light back and forth at a very high rate of speed.
Now picture your mind is a cat chasing the laser pointer beam back and forth… back and forth.
Lots of unnecessary energy will be expended, your focus intensity will be reduced due to the distraction of the constant switching and it will limit your ability to access Calm.
Zone science tells us “one clear goal” is a key trigger for Zone access… the same is true for Calm.
How do you learn to access Calm?
Fortunately, we have multiple sources to draw from.
My personal favorite is breathing exercises.
A great one to start with is Alpha Breathing.
Do a quick google search for the specifics or… you can reach out to me and I would be happy to forward you a doc to get you started!
by Geoff Greig, Geoff Greig Zone Athletic Performance
Award Winning PGA Coach, Mental Fitness Innovator, Speaker, Author
Immersion into so many aspects of performance gives Geoff a unique “big picture” viewpoint which has helped him to uncover key insights about the essential elements of the Zone and how to help others gain access.
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