In the world of competitive sports, mental fortitude is arguably the decisive factor for success, perhaps even more important than physical preparedness. This argument is strengthened by the fact that some mainly do not require great physical exertion, one popular representative of this group being golf. Nevertheless, there is always the pressure to deliver optimal performance, making it essential for elite athletes to hone their psychological skills so as to cope with stress. Drawing on his professional experience and research, acclaimed cardiologist and stress expert Dr. John M. Kennedy has developed a highly effective mindful-based stress reduction program called BREATHE, combining guided imagery, focused controlled breathing, and positive self-talk to create a technique that helps users focus, concentrate, and relax. Based on his observations and the findings of several studies on the benefits of BREATHE for workers in high-stress environments, Dr. John M. Kennedy believes that his program can help athletes cope with pre-game anxiety and optimize their performance, mainly through the application of mental rehearsal exercises.
“As a practicing cardiologist over the past 20 years, I have noticed many similarities between athletes and surgeons. Common to both is the importance of performing consistently with precision and accuracy. Both train and study for years, honing and perfecting their skills, and are frequently required to perform at their best when under pressure,” Dr. John M. Kennedy shares. Noting that there are no do-overs in either surgery or competitive sports, he points to the importance of mental skills training and imagery techniques for mastering anxiety and achieving optimal results. Since BREATHE makes extensive use of imagery and visualization, it is uniquely suited for application in sports, enabling athletes to cope with pre-game stress and execute at their best.
So far, Dr. John M. Kennedy has adapted BREATHE to meet the needs of baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and golf players. One of the greatest advantages of his program is its flexibility, so it can easily be modified to help athletes in many other sports, both at the competitive and recreational level. While golf may not require as much physical strength as football or hockey, mental preparation is crucial in every sport, according to Dr. John M. Kennedy. Through the employment of guided imagery, BREATHE enables athletes to enhance their focus and concentration, while the extensive incorporation of breathing techniques contributes to a fall in heart rate and blood pressure. Additionally, the use of positive self-talk has been shown to improve performance, strengthen self-confidence, and reduce cognitive anxiety.
Dr. John M. Kennedy is a prominent cardiologist and stress expert with 25 years of experience in preventative and interventional cardiology. Having studied extensively the impact of stress on cardiovascular health, he has shared his insights in two two popular books: The Heart Health Bible and The 15 Minute Heart Cure. The latter focuses on the effects of stress on the cardiovascular system and introduces his natural stress reduction technique, BREATHE. At present, Dr. John M. Kennedy serves as medical director of preventive cardiology and wellness at Marina Del Rey Hospital in California. His professional affiliations include Kindred Health Care South Bay (Gardena, CA), Providence Little Company of Mary (Torrance, CA), and Memorial Hospital of Gardena (Gardena, CA).
Breathe With Dr. Kennedy: https://breathewithdrkennedy.com
Dr. John M. Kennedy, On Helping Frontline Workers During the Pandemic: https://www.yahoo.com/now/dr-john-m-kennedy-helping-185000550.html
Dr. John M. Kennedy Reviews the Most Common Stressors and Their Effect on Health: https://sports.yahoo.com/dr-john-m-kennedy-reviews-190500098.html