One of the most anxious times you can have as a BMXer is going to a new skatepark, trails, street spot, or even just a car park. We’ve all been there and know the anxious feels. Sometimes, trying something new is scary, be it a moment of hesitation or a full-on panic attack. We’ll look at mindfulness techniques to help you make going to a new skatepark or your first skatepark less daunting.
As you roll up to the park, you can feel your chest tightening, a physical sign of anxiety. Your mind starts running, mostly dwelling on negative thoughts, the cognitive side of anxiety. You have a feeling of dread, which is the emotional side of anxiety. You are not alone. We have all pretty much experienced this at some point in our life. That is the first thing to tell yourself.
These manifestations of negative thoughts are reactions to the idea of a new situation. It is easier to dwell on the negative rather than getting stoked about being somewhere new. Now, I’m not going to say to chase these negative thoughts away. If we try to do that, we’ll make them bigger.
Your mind is a strong tool, and what we need to do is recognise these negative thoughts. These thoughts can be anything from, “Will the people here like me?” to “I will get injured here.” Admit to yourself that these thoughts are forming. We need to recognise that our mind is bringing us complaints or blame.
When these thoughts catch us, our body reacts. It is trying to work out where we are on the fight-flight-freeze response scale. It would help if you gave your body a chance here. A time out is the best response. Take a moment and concentrate on your breathing.
Now might not be the best time to try and meditate or take a 15 minute breathing exercise. You might find this adds to your anxiety. What to do is take your BMX for a bit of a cruise and concentrate on your breathing. In and out, in and out. Concentrate on your breathing, and slowly start to widen your focus to the rest of your body. How does the sun feel on your skin? Is the wind cold against your body? Take in all these momentary situations.
As you start to be calmer, I want you to take a moment to think of a positive. “I’m about to have a great session.” “The weather is great today.” “My body is not sore.” It can be anything good in your life at this present moment. Allow yourself to recognise these good thoughts, perhaps even take a moment longer to affirm these thoughts.
Now we have given ourselves a little mindfulness help, all that is left is to go shred.