Courtesy of Jharna Sutaria
It may be the roars and whistles. The lights on the ceiling. The sea of swimmers. Whatever your reason is, this sport is not a comfortable arena for anyone to dive in. Swim meets require an athlete to stay calm but not too relaxed. To stay focused but not too tense. Whether you are an amateur or an elite, this state of mind is difficult to master. Distress tolerance is a skill that allows one to cope with a strong emotion so that they can enter into their “wise mind” state.
I already know what you are thinking. “What is wise mind”? No don’t worry, you don’t have to embark on a lifelong quest in search of enlightenment. “Wise mind” a state of mind that is a balance between emotion and logic. “In wise mind, we are aware of our feelings, and we decide how to act in a way to honor our feelings and goals.” – Tara Guest Arnold, Ph.D., LCSW. Shoving our feelings in the back of our mind is never a good thing. Neither is getting upset for having those feelings. Emotions come for a reason and suppressing them will result in them bursting out in an unhealthy way. So, the next time you experience a strong emotion, take a minute to feel your feels. With that in mind, it’s important to not bury ourselves in our emotions or encourage the fire to spread. Validate that you may be nervous before your race but, don’t indulge in your anxious thoughts.
Step 2. Now that you have acknowledged the presence of your emotion, it’s time to bring some logic into the picture. After validating our feelings, it is important to use logic to problem solve and complete the equation. “We all have an inner “professor”, that part of our mind that tries to rationalize and explain everything.” – Tammy Rome, LPC. Logic can help us take the next step towards reaching “wise mind”. For example, “wise mind” would sound like this: I feel pretty nervous before my race, and I will swim the best I can.
This type of self-talk may not always work immediately. In this situation, you would need to use a coping mechanism that can help distract you from your emotion until you are in a more stable place to proceed to “wise mind”. Some ideas for distract skills that you can use at a swim meet are to listen to music, eat a tasty snack, read a book, play with a fiddle toy, draw/doodle, talk with teammates or your coach, or pay attention to your 5 senses. It’ll take some time to find the set of skills that work right for you. Once you get in a better mindset and connect the logic piece to your statement, you will be able to dive into your race confidently.
About Jhama Sutaria
Each day is a challenge that comes with a lifetime of rewards.
Those who beg to differ have never truly lived.
Jharna Sutaria is a dazzling 17-year old who dreams of tracing her imprint on the world. As someone who is dealing with mental illness, Jharna believes in raising awareness and educating others about the subject. She wants to break the stigma that surrounds the invisible demons, through her writing.
Jharna’s first publication was at the age of 9 when one of her pieces was selected for the book, A Celebration of Poets. Over the past year, she has claimed Honorable Mention in the 2016-2017 Coppell Gifted Association (CGA) Creative Writing Competition. Jharna works as marketing designer for Academy of Texas Aquatic Champions (ATAC) Swim Club, and Light Heart, Focused Mind (LHFM). She is in the process of writing her first poetry book, The Magical Mess of My Mind , and created a poetry blog called Outburst. Jharna aspires to be a sports journalist when she graduates school.
The young woman has been in treatment since the winter of 2015 and is staying strong in her recovery. Some of the major things that get her through each day are her purpose, her heartbeat, and her story.
As a resident of Palo Alto, California, Jharna attends Paly Senior High School and is a swimmer on Rinconada Masters. She is also an open water swimmer and practices in the ocean with World Water Swim. She adores her 15-year-old sister, Arnavi, and her 9-year-old dog, Mandy.
Link to Outburst: http://jharnasutaria.wixsite.com/outburst