When you are headed home from a ballroom competition and everything went pretty well, and yet you feel down, I have some ideas about what might be happening. In this episode I give you three reasons this might be the case.
In her book, Dopamine Nation, Anna Lembke, MD, describes a mechanism where after the brain releases dopamine and other pleasure related neurotransmitters, it will then create pain to counter it in an attempt to return the body to homeostasis. The pleasure and pain centers overlap in the brain and are related to one another in this way.
This is not your fault, very human, and is just the brain doing what human brains do. There is not much to be done other than let time pass and not judge yourself for feeling bad even if it doesn’t make sense to you.
Sometimes we feel pain post-competition because we had expectations that weren’t met. If we have goals and want to perform to a certain level, and then we don’t, we will be bummed about that. Maybe even mad. It isn’t bad to have expectations but sometimes we have expectations that aren’t approprtiate, or aren’t in our control at all. Notice what expectations you might have had. Were you asking more than you were capable at the moment? Did you expect an outcome that was in someone else’s hands? Also check to see if you had other expectations about social engagments, interactions with your studios or coaches that didn’t materialize. Again, it’s okay to have expectations, but some of them might need to be communicated to others so that everyone is clear on what to expect. Other expectations you might need to drop all together and be more flexible or go with the flow, especially when it comes to social situations.
Much of the pain we create for ourselves comes from our own minds. How you feel is determined by your thoughts. Think good, positive, empowering thoughts and you will feel good. Think negative, self-punishing, judgmental thoughts and you will feel terrible. Some thought pain is clean pain that is cleansing and helps you process and event and move past it. Other pain is dirty, keeps you stuck and spinning and doesn’t lead to healing. Disappointment and sadness can be clean pain. Making your results mean that you are a failure, a bad person, or are an embarrassment won’t benefit you and will actually be a detriment to you in the end. Beating yourself up *might* lead to change *sometimes* but it also usually leads to burnout, and it’s a tremendous waste of energy. Be picky about how you think. Be picky about how you choose to view your results. Choose intentionally what you want to think about your competition results. Then get back on your feet sooner.