When someone or something upsets you… Do you find yourself getting stressed and upset when you’d rather be cool, calm and composed?

Sometimes when things aren’t going so well and it’s hard to find something to be cheerful about it’s because we are feeling ‘done to’.

The source of our frustration or unhappiness in such cases is something outside us and over which we have no control. Someone may have said something which made us feel bad, sad or resentful. Your coach has moved rinks or lesson times have been changed to a day you can’t go.

We feel like we have no control over these things because they are done TO us.

We can, however, control how we respond to these things. Getting angry or upset when under pressure will do nothing to resolve the situation.  Here’s what happens:

1) it makes you stressed and emotionally drained

2) Your upset will have a knock on effect to those around you (including loved ones)

3) it sets a poor example to other people for whom you may just be a role model.

In fact – whatever the situation is beyond your control which has upset you – staying angry and upset will only negatively affect you – not the people who caused the upset in the first place.

So, the solution is to think about what you CAN change – which is your response to the situation. Your mood. Your attitude.  Being able to “surf the waves” and bat off the negativity directed at you will give you more strength to cope and thrive in adversity.

Here are 5 ways you can change things around:

  1. Go for a walk in nature – get outside and feel. Feel the wind, the grass under your feet or a gravelly pathway. Listen to the sounds – birds, dogs, distant traffic, children playing. It takes your mind off the thing which was upsetting you and reconnects you, grounds you if you like.
  2. Head off for a gentle jog or to the gym and let off steam as you keep fit. Don’t go overboard though and end up mindlessly pounding that treadmill as if it were the perpetrator’s head!
  3. Put on your headphones and listen to some uplifting music
  4. Practice mindfulness and focus on the here and now instead of past hurt or future anxieties.
  5. Start a ‘Gratitude Journal’ and write each day about what motivates you and makes you feel good.

When I work one-to-one with skaters, parents or coaches, I sometimes get them to see the negative situation or person in control of that situation as one of their ‘gremlins’ and we establish some pretty creative ways of overcoming the stress and anxiety they are causing.

So remember, when you feel anger, anxiety or sadness beginning to take hold, take one of the above actions quickly to keep it at bay. Because when you let yourself be ‘done to’ the stress chemicals that start to flow around your body will seriously hamper your chances of pulling off a great performance – whether that’s on the ice, at school, at work or with ‘frenemies’.