Our bodies cannot differentiate between mental / emotional and physical stress. Stress is stress. If your body spends more time in a sympathetic state it will not have a chance to recover from a training session. It will start to break down. If it spends equal time in sympathetic and parasympathetic it will stay the same (e.g you will most likely plateau in your training). If it spends more time in a parasympathetic state it will have he chance to recover, rebuild & allow you to get stronger and fitter.
Chasing confidence can feel similar to chasing success. It can seem conditional, result-based and often reliant on external or uncontrollable factors; "I will be successful when I achieve X,” or "I will be confident when I can do Y."
The downfall of this, is that it is out of our control. And because it is out of our control we have no power in being someone who is confident or being someone who is successful. We end up feeling like we are at the start of an unknown and never ending path as we continue to pile on more conditions and higher expectations.
"When someone is in a state of flow, that person's brain is not thinking about anything - it's just processing things through chunks at a total instinct level." - Kevin Maney
I have tried distracting myself by focusing on my movement, breathing, and positive affirmations, but have found that I can achieve the greatest state of flow when I focus on not focusing. If I let my mind focus too strongly my mind starts to over analyse and create unnecessary fear or barriers to my success.
When you struggle to let your mind switch off allowing yourself time to unwind and relax can be an unimaginable task. There is always things you have to do, things you should do, plans to make, things to remember.
The experience of being a competitor is one that provides ample opportunities for self reflection and awareness. You are able to see how you respond under extreme mental and physical stress. It becomes clear whether you thrive off comparing yourself with others, or remaining focused on your own performance. It is a sound test of the stability and durability of your mentality and how you respond when it becomes fragile.
After an event or competition is the perfect time to reflect on and analyse your success, progress and state of mind.