Tennis great Serena Williams seems to have nerves of steel as she never seems to crack under pressure. However, like anyone else, Serena too has her moments of stress but she has mastered the art to overcome it and not panic.
So how does she do that? Whenever she gets stressful under any circumstances, she focuses on relaxing and slowing down and she does that by what neuroscientists call ‘quiet eye’. It’s a science-based tactic that’s also taught by Zen masters.
The concept is explained by qz.com: When we are doing something fun, time seems to pass by quickly and when we are bored or stressed, it seems never-ending. People can control this flow of time in the mind by improving focus. The quiet eye is the ability to take a keener, closer, longer look at things that require focus, without losing nerves. In moments of stress, great athletes ignore distractions and plan carefully, as if an internal mechanism enables them to change the pace of play. Quiet eye may even initiate ‘flow state,’ a sense of total absorption and immersion during which time and space become irrelevant.
“I’ve won most of my matches–probably all of my grand slams–because of what’s upstairs, not anything else. If you are behind in a game, it’s so important to relax, and that’s wh I do–when I’m behind in a game, that’s when I become most relaxed. Just focus on one point at a time…just that sole point, and then the next one, and the next one,” Serena told Sports illustrated in 2015.
It’s not easy to master ‘quiet eye’ with so many constant distractions around but mastering this technique can help you increase your focus and help reduce stress and panic from your life.