What Moves Me - Olympic advice for everyday problems
Anxiety, self doubt, distractions - Olympic athlete or not, every one of us faces challenges in our daily lives that can feel impossible; but that doesn’t mean we have to work through them alone.
We asked six Team Toyota athletes to share their experience of hitting and overcoming challenges in their career, as well as the practical techniques they use every day to feel empowered and bring their ‘A’ game.
The result is the Olympic Channel series What Moves Me.
1. Diver David Boudia - How do I control my anxiety?
When we feel anxious or stressed, it’s often accompanied by a faster heartbeat than usual but focusing on this physical manifestation can help to control the emotional side of things too. Breathe slowly in through your nose and out of your mouth, lengthening the exhale to activate the parasympathetic nervous system and encourage a relaxed mental state.
"Try to slow your heart rate down by focusing on your breath." - David Boudia
What Moves Me | David Boudia: Valuing the journey
What Moves Me | David Boudia: Valuing the journeyDavid Boudia, U.S. Olympic gold medallist diver, struggled to ride the highs and lows of elite athletics, with disappointment in Beijing leading him to depression and suicidal thoughts as he lost his sense of purpose. He shares that the key to success is not focusing purely on an end result - instead valuing the journey you are on and enjoying life to its full potential by finding a balance.
2. Wheelchair tennis player Dylan Alcott - How do I stay motivated?
Alcott understands that when we lack motivation, breaking down a goal into smaller stepping stones can help it to feel more manageable and require less effort. It also helps you to track your progress, and when you can see that progress in action, it’s much more motivating. Increased endorphins are linked to increased motivation too, so Alcott’s advice is to get out there and enjoy life!
"Have fun, set achievable goals and do it with people you love." - Dylan Alcott
What Moves Me | Dylan Alcott: Talking it out
What Moves Me | Dylan Alcott: Talking it outDylan Alcott, ten-time Grand Slam singles champion for Australia, was bullied and ostracized growing up in a wheelchair. He shares the transformational impact that simply talking to others about his issues had on his self confidence and career. His journey teaches us that it's perfectly normal to have negative thoughts, but the best thing you can do to overcome them is to share them.
3. Pole vaulter Olivia McTaggart - How do I handle feeling different?
McTaggart is a big advocate for being different: "In this day and age, what is normal?"
We can embrace and celebrate differences for their value and enrich perspectives by owning them and using them to our best advantage.
"Own it, make the most of it and use it to your best advantage." - Olivia McTaggart
What Moves Me | Olivia McTaggart: Changing perspective
What Moves Me | Olivia McTaggart: Changing perspectiveOlivia McTaggart, New Zealand pole vaulter aiming for her first Olympics, felt crushing disappointment when she broke her back after years of dedication to professional gymnastics and was told she would never compete in the sport again. She shares the importance of taking a step back and having a positive mindset to allow yourself to discover new passions you may not have considered before.
4. Para-athlete Ashida Hajimu - How do I manage negative thoughts?
Ashida had to overcome his own negative thoughts and has learned that you can’t ignore negative emotions - that it is completely natural for both negative and positive emotions to bubble up inside you at any given time. It is more important and constructive to think about how you take these thoughts and turn them into a positive action for the future.
"Accept it for what it is, then try to think about how to transform it into a positive action." - Ashida Hajimu
What Moves Me | Ashida Hajimu: Taking small steps
What Moves Me | Ashida Hajimu: Taking small stepsAshida Hajimu, Paralympian in relay, triple jump and long jump for Japan, experienced gut-wrenching disappointment when he placed 12th in long jump at Rio 2016. He shares the emotional journey he has been on in the last four years, from focusing on negative outcomes to learning to enjoy the process of development - valuing each of the smallest steps forward.Ashida Hajimu, Paralympian in relay, triple jump and long jump for Japan, experienced gut-wrenching disappointment when he placed 12th in long jump at Rio 2016. He shares the emotional journey he has been on in the last four years, from focusing on negative outcomes to learning to enjoy the process of development - valuing each of the smallest steps forward.
5. Blind 5-a-side footballer Ricardo Alves - How do I deal with negative opinions?
Alves is no stranger to being underestimated, but believes the best way to react to negativity is simply to focus on yourself and doing what you love. If you can ignore or block out these distractions, you allow yourself to focus on achieving your own potential, proving to yourself and others that you are capable of anything you want in life.
"Try not to let it bother you, then prove them wrong through actions and results." - Ricardo Alves
What Moves Me | Ricardo Alves: Proving them wrong
What Moves Me | Ricardo Alves: Proving them wrongRicardo Alves, Brazilian captain of the three-time champion Paralympic Blind 5-a-side football team, was not always sure of his future. With the loss of his sight, people treated him differently and told him he would never be a professional footballer. He shares the importance of believing in your abilities and working hard at them to overcome the seemingly impossible.
6. Wrestler Erica Wiebe - How do I feel confident?
Wiebe is a big believer in the power of leaning into others for strength - it might be a friend, family member, colleague or neighbour, but forming a community of people that support one another through rain or shine can give you the confidence that your best is enough! She encourages you to explore ways of doing this, particularly through sports and training, as not only can you meet new people, it also releases endorphins - aka happy chemicals for an instant confidence boost!
"Get active and find like-minded people to lift you up." - Erica Wiebe