Sport psychology off the field
The world of sport psychology may be able to help you on the job.
Just as an athlete might mentally prepare for a sports event, so you can rehearse in advance what you're going to say to someone and how to say it, as well as anticipate questions that might come up and how to answer them. Athletes use visualization like this to reduce stress, build confidence, and ultimately get a better performance.
If you're not performing well at work, you might benefit from a technique called cognitive restructuring. With a psychologist's help, you think about how well you're making your points at a meeting, rather than how the boss is hating every word and plotting to fire you.
Other techniques commonly used to enhance performance include emphasizing process vs. outcome; using deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation to manage stress; and shifting attributional orientation from external factors (such as incompetent bosses) to internal factors (such as poor preparation).
Psychologists aren't just sharing sport psychology ideas with patients; they're also working with corporations eager to think of themselves as winning teams in an era of downsizing. Although their employees arenít facing Olympic competition, they are facing the stress of trying to increase productivity while lowering costs, the stress of working long hours on jobs that might take weeks or months, and the stress of fitting into a team where individual goals have to fit into group goals.
Thanks to Robert N. Singer, PhD, retired chair of the Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology (formerly Exercise and Sport Sciences) at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and former president of APA's Division 47 (Exercise and Sports); and Shane M. Murphy, PhD, of Western Connecticut University, who was head of sport psychology for the U.S. Olympic Committee between 1987 and 1994.