Over the 4th of July weekend, my dog (and probably yours) was going crazy because of the large popping noises from the fireworks! I felt so bad for my dog, Lily, as she was scared to death trying to find solace on top of my head lol.
(if you have a dog, you will feel bad for the poor fella's trying to nudge against us while climbing on us trying to find safety).
You also probably noticed that your dog started to pant. I know I did.
If you don't have a dog, here's what happens. When a dog gets scared or stressed or has anxiety, their natural body reaction is to pant. They have no control over it at all. Their heart races so fast, they naturally just start panting to help resolve the stress. It's their bodies defense mechanism and natural reflex of a racing heart and anxiety.
This is the same for humans, except we don't pant (well, most of us :).
Yet, we kinda SHOULD!
We could learn so much from a dog in a stressful environment.
When we get nervous, feel pressure, stress or anxiety, our body shows/indicates that with an increased heart rate and adrenaline. However, we don't pant to relieve it. As a matter of fact, we do not have a natural solution to stress like a dog does. Therefore, we need to come up with a solution on our own.
The best way for us humans to combat stress and pressure and the feeling of adrenaline is to breathe deeply to slow it back down. That's what a dog's body is doing. And we should do the same!
I talk a lot about how to slow down your adrenaline by taking in deep breaths, holding, then slowing letting the air out. THE best way to help calm your nerves, slow down your heart rate, and help your adrenaline.
The key is to cognizant of when stress increases so you can do deep breaths. Our body is trying to tell us when we feel pressure, but we sometimes don't do anything about it while competing when in fact we SHOULD.
Feel your body. Listen to it. HELP it de-stress by breathing. We don't pant automatically like a dog during pressure, so we need to be more aware and take actions on our own.
Again: Deep breath in. Hold until you can feel your heart beating through your veins, then let out slowly. You'll be absolutely amazed how this slows down your heart rate so you can get back to playing good pool again (otherwise we have wobbly arms and shoot too fast when we are stressed or feel pressure).
Remember our poor puppies during thunderstorms or fireworks: