Sports Professional Suffers Panic Attack

November 15, 2012

Sports Professional Suffers Panic Attack

PGA TOUR Pro, Charlie Beljan, had an experience that hundreds of thousands of people around the world suffer through regularly, a panic attack! Simply put, a panic attack is the body’s instinctual process of fight or flight. On a daily basis we all go through varying levels of anxiety and stress, but some folks enter into a more severe level which is referred to as a panic attack. For some, their panic attacks are debilitating, causing them to fear driving a car, going into public places or having relationships.

Let’s look at what is behind a panic attack.

For survival purposes, we are all born with an instinct that is referred to as fight or flight. Think about this for a moment… when you are in a situation which is life threatening, it actually serves us well to have an adrenaline rush and the strength to either fight or flee. But other things occur in our bodies when this instinct takes over, blood rushes to our extremities, heart rate increases, our frontal lobe thinking shuts down (where we make decisions about right and wrong, cause and effect), breathing speeds up, kidney, digestive and reproductive systems shut down, and sweat glands open. Although these may help us survive, they are the exact opposite of what needs to be occurring for peak golf performance!

If you have ever been “in the zone” you know that you are in a calm state of mind, your body feels relaxed, breathing is calm, heart rate is in a healthy range, all movement feels intuitive, and you feel euphoric and full of energy. Unfortunately, due to our thought patterns and belief systems, almost every person on the planet, suffers from stress or anxiety. Many of life’s stressors trigger this instinctual fight or flight response. Our modern lifestyle, whether one is on the PGA TOUR or not, contributes to an almost constant state of arousal which takes a daily toll on our body… decreasing our health and ability to perform well at any task at hand.

For PGA TOUR Pro, Charlie Beljan, he was fortunate to have been able to manage the anxiety well and even win the tournament. But for most PGA TOUR Pros, without some mental training, panic attacks and their fight or flight response can significantly decrease their ability to perform well.

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