Meet Anxiety: How I Dealt With It
I have been an athlete my entire life, and never had a problem with anxiety until weightlifting. When I wrestled I never thought much about it just being me out there, and I never doubted myself. The practice was the worst and the matches were the best. I always felt like I could beat anyone. When I started weightlifting I never felt anxiety, until I started getting decent. For some reason the pressure I felt at meets was enough to make me feel like I was going to puke. The thought of missing my lifts flooded my brain. Not one positive thought would run through my head. I used to even think “I don't want to be good” because I did not want to deal with the anxiety and stress that came with success.
In 2017 I made the Pan American Championships and the World Championships on the Junior level. These would be the biggest meets of my entire life, and for some reason, I didn't think I could compete. I kept telling myself I wasn't good enough for this or I wasn't strong enough. I acted like I was in training but it was really just an act. Again, I had no positive thoughts. Everything I thought was negative. When we got to Pan Ams in Ecuador I did exactly what I kept telling myself I was going to do, and that was bomb out. This was when I started to realize that the mind controls the body. A bomb out in Olympic weightlifting is when you don't hit a snatch or clean and jerk and you don't post a total. I was upset with myself and mad that I failed myself and my team. I took a step back and analyzed this meet. I checked mental preparation and my diet. Trying to fit all the pieces together so I could rid myself of these inner demons.
One day it just hit me. I knew what I had to do to stop having anxiety. The solution: believing in myself. It was that simple. I was always told your brain is the strongest thing in your body, but never really saw it until that moment. I started training with a positive attitude. Instead of missing and shutting down, I would miss and learn. I took criticism better and became a better weightlifter. It wasn't because I got physically stronger, but because I became mentally stronger. I no longer doubted myself. I no longer believed I couldn't be good. I no longer let thoughts of failure surround my mind. If you think smarter you act smarter. If you train like a champion you will become a champion, but it all starts with believing in yourself.
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