The idea behind progessive relaxation (PR) exercises is to eventually be able to automatically release tension from the muscles. A relaxed body then leads to a relaxed mind. When doing PR it is helpful to have good breathing technique and to incorporate stretching or physical activity of some sort, such as walking or yoga.
Today I want to discuss arousal in eSports, although it’s probably a different kind of arousal than most people are expecting. No, I don’t mean Sona or
PMantheon’s chest; nor do I mean Jim Raynor’s rugged good looks or Kerrigan’s naked-bug get-up. What I mean is the activation of the body and the mind, which functions on a continuum like this:
Research on arousal level in sports began as early as the turn of the 20th century with Yerkes and Dodson (1908) who discovered that with higher arousal it was harder to perform complex tasks, but easier to perform easy tasks. Since then we’ve come a long way to understanding how arousal relates to all kinds of performance from sports to arts. Continue reading Arousal in eSports
Two ends of the spectrum
One of the biggest joys and frustrations in my life is that I coach a special needs team of competitive swimmers. One boy loves to compete; he gets really, super excited about it. In fact every time he dives in for a race he spins his arms like a windmill, and ends up going nowhere fast. I love racing him in longer races because he ‘tires’ himself out and relaxes a little back into his normal, strong stroke. On the other hand, I have another boy who does everything in his life very precisely. When he dives in for his race he calmly and carefully takes every stroke very completely with excellent kick all the way to the end. Not much gets him worked up enough to swim hard.
Breathing correctly is nature’s automatic relaxant. When a person takes a deep, diaphragmatic breath the muscles along the back involuntarily relax as part of the movement. Since the shoulder muscles are largely tied into the lumbar support muscles of the spine this effect cascades throughout the upper torso. Additionally, the amount of oxygen in the blood increases, and breath rate slows, both of which enhance concentration and physical performance.
In stressful, high anxiety situations, breathing is usually either too rapid or too shallow. Sometimes people even hold their breath at various stages on a continual basis. This type of breathing increases tension in the muscles, impairs precise muscle control, and reduces concentration ability. Therefore, proper breathing is a core part of every relaxation technique and a good first step towards improving skill in relaxation. Continue reading Relaxation Technique – proper breathing