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Aug 08

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A Right State or The Right State?

Imagine you’re nervously waiting to be called in for interview. Or you’re striding up to the wicket to bat. Or you’re baking a cake for you in-laws’ imminent visit.

You know you can do a great job. But the trouble is you didn’t sleep well, you’ve run out of Weetabix, and your lucky pants are in the wash.

In other words, you’re in “A right state”* rather than “THE right state”.

What’s to be done? The first step is completed already. We’ve decided to change our response to a set of circumstances. Tick.

How is this achieved? Try a method that appeals most to your personal style and circumstances.

Option A: Get physical.

Move your body around in a way that signals to yourself change is afoot. If appropriate, skip and jump around the room, do star jumps or windmill your arms around (one at a time, forward and then back, then both at the same time in opposite directions, and switch). This will interrupt your black dog thought patterns and encourage you to….

Option B: Breathe!

When we’re anxious, frustrated or in a right state, we tend to take shallow, sharp, short, rapid breaths. A few long, wholesome breaths into the belly (imagine you’re filling up like a balloon on the inhale) moderates the stress hormones flooding through our veins. Unlike skipping and windmilling your arms around, there are few circumstances in which deep breathing is frowned upon.

Option C: Star in a movie.

Imagine a montage of film clips detailing the highlights of you life. Your big successes, times when you were feeling most confident and happy (that time you swam with dolphins/scored the winning try/threw a superb dinner party/won the chess trophy/passed your driving test/went hiking on your own/brought the house down). Play it in your head with an uplifting sound track.

Then continue the story by mixing in a few clips of your future life where you’re virtually indistinguishable from your hero in whatever endeavour you’re undertaking. You speak like Obama, wield the bat like Sachin Tendulkar, or fold like Delia Smith.

With a little concentration, you will find yourself in exactly the right state to succeed.

*Best pronounced in a Yorkshire accent, with thanks to Claire Emmott.

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