The Mental Edge 24 Mar 2023

24 Mar 2023

Mental Edge Newsletter

Helping You Gain A Mental Edge

33 Ways To Help You Get In The Zone

How can I find “the zone”?

Imagine the scenario, you have a big race or a cup final to play, the days before you talk about it often.  The night before it’s all you talk about.  Then in the hours before the event you’re a bundle of nerves, your heart rate is beating fast and you’ve got the butterflies – big style.

What is happening in the brain?

The amygdala, which is responsible for the fight-or-flight response has responded to a threat.  It’s likely that you are experiencing an intense unconscious emotional response which can make it difficult to make clear decisions. 

You may feel miles away from being in “the zone” that place where you are completely immersed in the task in hand.  Other things that you may not be experiencing are:

  • A sense of control.
  • Peace.
  • Flow.
  • A quiet mind.
  • The feeling of being alive.
  • Strength.

You’re may even be feeling a little helpless at this stage.  So how can you find a way to gain control of your mind and body when you are in these situations.

3 Tips to help you find “The Zone”

1.Understand what the zone means to you by reminding yourself about flow experiences you’ve had in the past.

Think of a time when you were totally immersed in what you were doing – a time when you felt strong, brave and positive, not at all self-conscious or worried about messing up.  Describe on a piece of paper the situation as clearly as possible; when and where it occurred, who you were with, what happened leading up to this time and how the experience started.  Use as many senses as you can when imagining the event.  Write down your thoughts, feelings and things other things people would have noticed about your behaviour.  Include how you felt after this period finished.

2. See yourself in “The Zone”

Now that you’ve done step 1 and written down what “the zone” feels like to you, you could visualise yourself and harness the power of your mind, by drawing on all your senses, creating vivid mental images, including sights, sounds, smells, movements, words and feelings.  Visualisation is a well researched method to manage stress and anxiety and give yourself a much better chance of creating the performance that you desire in your mind.

3. Blow out some candles!

You could breathe in through your nose for five seconds, then exhale through your mouths—as if you’re blowing out some candles on a birthday cake —for six seconds.   If you practise this regularly, for a few minutes each day and get good at it you’ll feel so much calmer.

These simple techniques work amazingly well preventing you going into games where your heart beats ultra-fast and your brain is in overdrive, leading to more nerves, worries and doubts.

For other ideas check out this blog

Today’s podcast can also be a big help…

Today in episode #162 of the Demystifying Mental Toughness Podcast I chat with Sun Sachs and Ed Gibbins, owners of Rewire Fitness about flow states.  When you have a sense of control, are at peace, have a quiet mind and an inner calmness about you.  We discuss the characteristics and importance of flow states, as well as touching on how you can find “flow.”



As you’ll have seen if you read last week’s Mental Edge or spotted my fun on Instagram I’m approaching the end of a Cold Immersion Challenge during March where I’m now on day 24.  During this time, I’ve noted that sitting in cold water and ice is also a great way of finding the zone and quiet – you read right! 😊 

These scientists and 2 podcasts confirm this is the case as well as also highlighting multiple benefits for health and performance, including dealing with stress better therefore boosting your levels of resilience and mental strength.

Dr. Susanna Søberg on the Benefits of Cold Therapy

Dr Andrew Huberman: Using Deliberate Cold Exposure for Health and Performance | Huberman Lab Podcast #66


David Charlton Sports Psychologist

Best Wishes 

David Charlton

Online Sports Psychologist | Mental Performance Coach who supports many highly motivated athletes, young and old, developing their skills or who are already highly skilled so that they gain a mental edge and get the most from their talent across the globe from USA/Canada to Great Britain and Ireland to UAE, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, using ONLINE Video Conferencing.    

Managing Director – Inspiring Sporting Excellence

Host of Demystifying Mental Toughness Podcast

Founder of The Sports Psychology Hub 

Author of The Mental Edge

With over a decades’ experience supporting athletes, coaches, parents and teams to transfer their skills from training to competitive situations, under pressure.

T: +44 7734 697769

E: [email protected]

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