British scientists who studied 40 collegiate athletes concluded that those who tried to quiet their nerves reduced not only their heart rates but also their confidence levels, which dampened their reflexes.
Instead, see the mantra below created by Jennifer Cumming, Ph.D., the study's author. When the athletes in the study chanted it, they were able to keep their heart rates up without feeling overwhelmed with anxiety:
"I am mentally and physically ready.... My body is signaling that it is prepared.... I have butterflies in my stomach and slight feelings of nausea...telling me that adrenaline is pumping round my body...confirming that I am prepared to begin...my body is in its optimal state...I am supremely confident that I can dominate the situation.... My muscles feel tight...they will react to my every command.... I am totally in control of my body and this focuses me on the task ahead.... My heart is racing faster...and faster...and my breathing is rapid.... I know that oxygen is coursing through my body.... I recognize these as feelings that I always experience prior to my best performances.... This makes me even more confident in my own ability.... Any thoughts of the competition that I experience just prove to underline my level of readiness.... All the other competitors can see that I am a well prepared, supent athlete who will succeed...."