If you’ve ever watched LeBron James at an away game, you know how heated things can get. There’s always at least one fan heckling him as he shoots free throws or rests on the sidelines. Well, it turns out, this situation is super relatable to your anxiety. Hear the surprising trick Lebron James can teach us, plus learn how it can help you manage your anxiety. Also, stick around at the end of the video for information on how to get my ultimate guide to tackling your anxiety.
If you struggle with anxiety, then you know how annoying your little internal voice can be. It’s always saying something, yammering on about worries, what could go wrong, how dumb you looked, and a million other things. And while we have a lot of tools for reducing anxiety, sometimes no matter what tools you use or how much you reason through something, the anxious voice is still there.
So I want you to treat this internal voice just like LeBron treats a heckler. He doesn’t put his hands over his ears and say “I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you.” But he also doesn’t march off the court and up into the stands to grab the person by their shirt and tell them to shut up. Both of those outcomes would be disastrous.
How LeBron handles a heckler, someone who is just yapping and trying to get under his skin is by doing two things. He notices the person. He hears the heckling, but he doesn’t spend all his time and attention trying to drown him out. He learns to play with the heckler droning on, focusing his attention on his game and what he’s doing.
So I want you to do the same thing with your anxiety. Notice it, hear it, and realize that it’s yammering on. Use some of the skills you’ve learned here (like this one and this one) to whittle it down to a smaller amount. But then, after you’ve used all your skills, and that little voice is still yapping, move forward anyway. Play your game, do your thing, and just know that the little voice is gonna be there, doing it’s thing.
If LeBron kept looking at the heckler or telling him to shove it or shut up, what do you think the heckler would do? He would get louder. Your anxiety is the same way. The more you fight it and try to yell back at it, the worse it gets.
It’s important to note that I’m not suggesting you ignore your anxiety or that you suppress it. That’s not the same. That’s not what I’m talking about. I want to notice it, use your skills, but then move forward, treating your anxiety like the annoying and persistent internal dialogue that it is.
This is a practice, something you need to repeat over and over. It will probably be difficult at first, but as I’ve shared before, “fake it till you make it” is a genuinely helpful mantra in these situations.
Turns out, LeBron James can teach us a thing or two about anxiety. While, you can’t always control what the heckler in your head says, you do have some control over how you respond!