Recently, the coach of a youth hockey team shared how his team was hit by various injuries this year. He described two players who both suffered shoulder injuries. One broke his collarbone, and the other broke his clavicle and dislocated his shoulder. I asked how the surgeries went, and to my surprise, the coach told me that neither boy required surgery. The doctors of both athletes indicated the body will heal itself with rest and time off.

I smiled at the amazing capabilities of the human body.

While most people understand how the body physically heals itself, the idea of a psychological self-correcting system is largely unknown and overlooked.

If we stay out of its way, our mind will self-correct to its default state—clarity. Unfortunately, the tips, techniques, and strategies (which many professionals offer to those who are suffering) all add thought, creating mental clutter, which is the opposite of clarity.

When we stay on task and keep moving forward without looking for external causes and cures to our mental distress, we get out of our own way. We give room for the excess thinking to naturally flow out and for new, clear thoughts to flow in.

Just last week, I received a text from a parent (during his son’s tennis match) asking if I could meet with his son because his son’s prematch anxiety was increasing. In fact, during the current match the parent was distraught because his son looked like he was going to vomit during the whole first set, which he barely won 7-5.

My heart sank, as I am all too familiar with preperformance angst and vomiting (see my “A Tragic Misunderstanding” article). I asked about the second set, and the parent said his son won that 6-0.


This is an excellent example of our psychological self-correcting system at work.

The athlete stayed in the game, intuitively letting the thoughts (which caused the anxiety) flow through, and as a result, he played much better in the second set. With his anxiety a distant memory, he won his next match 6-0, 6-0.

Feeling off before any performance is not a problem to be solved.

You are not broken.

Nothing is wrong with you.

You don’t need to be fixed.

Understand the source of the off feeling. It is excess thought creating mental clutter and a narrow perspective.

Carry on.

Keep playing.

Take the next step.

Once you see the fundamental truth that the outside is powerless over the inside, your head will self-correct, just like the hockey players’ injuries naturally healed without any external intervention.

Grace and peace.