I’m pretty sure everybody has these days from time to time; when your brain inexplicably becomes your adversary and has you lose all confidence in all that you do.
Normally this happens when you’re tired for some reason. While I was on my own running the length of the UK, I would often wake up in the night with terrible anxiety about what I was trying to do. Then I would wake up in the morning and be 100% confident again. Strange.
I don’t know whether it is exclusively down to being tired, or possibly being subconsciously overwhelmed by your environment without realizing, and tiredness then brings that to the forefront.
Whatever it is, I got a powerful dose of it this afternoon.
To be fair, it was my third day in a new job; a small gym, but a really nice atmosphere and in my opinion, a pretty perfect environment for my style of personal training.
I had been really positive and actually quite excited about getting started on the job for ages. The first couple of days were great; getting to know a few members and just generally trying to be liked. It’s a bit like very organised attention seeking in a way.
So all going great! I’d not picked up any clients or anything, but I had done a couple of free taster sessions and chatted about fitness with various members. Then out of nowhere, my brain suddenly decided to relinquish me of all self-confidence.
Like most PT’s, I like to think that ‘normally’ I am quite articulate and know how to explain something… but it’s like all of a sudden, the entire English language just fell out of my head, which left me with this delightful blend of awkward and desperation. It’s like you’re trying to remember a script, then realising there isn’t one.
I’m looking back now, and everything I was saying was all correct. I remember giving some advice for Achilles Tendinopathy, which I happened to have a little experience in.. Everything I said was all true and reasonable advice; I just lacked all conviction and felt utterly awkward throughout.
What to do!?
It was mentioned on a recent training course I happened to be on; the advantages of those people who can recognise when their ‘state of mind’ is not right for the job at hand. The key is to recognise it early, and take steps to PUT yourself into the correct state of mind.
Easier said than done.
So I thought to myself, “where do I feel at my most confident?” and the answer was ‘out in the hills’, or more specifically ‘RUNNING out in the hills’, so I thought I’d give that a go…
To cut a long story short, I still don’t fully understand what causes these sudden feelings of doubt or anxiety that hit the best of us once in a while, but I have no doubt in my mind that this remedy WORKS.
I think it probably took about an hour into the run; the point where a bit of minor fatigue starts to kick in. I was descending casually from a fairly steep hill out in the middle of nowhere; not a person in sight; when I unexpectedly felt an actual, tangible sensation of endorphins. It was like all my senses heightened slightly, as clearly they had been dulled all day up to this point. Genuinely, it felt like my hearing got clearer and my sight got sharper in that instant. I’m not quite sure if this was ‘runners high’, or simply returning to a preferable state of mind. Whatever it was, it just goes to show what a powerful tool running can be!