Four Strategies the US Navy SEALs to Relieve Anxiety and Achieve Peak Performance

If you know me you know I am passionate about what I do, and I only teach what works.  I’ve tested everything personally and use proven best practices and science for my clients to get real tangible results.

That being the case I’m big on incorporating several things into a daily practice to become happier and increase performance. 

They include

  • envisioning your five-star day in advance
  • tuning inward for best answers to challenges
  • acknowledging yourself to build your confidence muscle and
  • embracing difficult situations instead of resisting them.

Imagine when I found out the world’s toughest and most stressful profession uses these same tools for anxiety relief and peak performance.

That group is the US Navy SEALs. Navy SEALS operate under extremely taxing conditions, but are among the most resilient members of the armed forces.

Kathyrn Wallace in the July issue of O Magazine, reports the four ways SEALs keep their cool and how you can navigate your personal minefields too.

  1. Prepare for BattleInstead of wasting energy by catastrophizing about stressful situations, SEALs spend hours in mental dress rehearsals before springing into action, says Lu Lastra director of mentorship for Naval Special Warfare and a former SEAL command master chief.

Your turn: What the SEALs call ‘mental loading,’ I refer to as ‘intention setting.’ See a scenario in advance and envision you navigating it in the best possible way. The extra prep will ease anxiety and give you the confidence to react calmly to whatever situation arises.   

  1. Talk Yourself Up- “Positive self-talk is quite possibly the most important skill the SEALs learn during their 15-month training,” says Lastra.  The most successful SEALs may not be the ones with the biggest biceps or the fastest mile, but they know how to turn their negative thoughts around.  

Your turn: Come up with your own mantra to remind yourself that you’ve got what it takes to persevere during the tough times.  (“I am safe and all is well.”  “I am made for this.” “I can do this.” “Just do it.”)

  1. Take a Deep Breath – “Meditation and deep breathing help slow the cognitive process and open us up to more intuitive thoughts,” says retired SEAL Commander Mark Divine.  He developed SEALFit, a demanding training program for civilians that incorporates yoga mindfulness and breathing techniques. He says some of his fellow SEALS became so tuned-in they were able to sense the presence of nearby roadside bombs.

Your turn:  Tune in. Practice what the SEALs call 4x4x4.  Inhale for four counts, then exhale for four counts for four minutes several times a day.  You’re guaranteed to feel calmer during any scenario and be able to hear your own best insights and creative genius.

  1. Embrace the Suck – “When the weather is foul and nothing is going right, that’s when I think, Now we’re getting someplace!” says Lastra, who encourages recruits to power through the times when they’re freezing, exhausted, or discouraged. Why? Lastra says the suckiest moments are when most people give up; the resilient ones spot a golden opportunity to surpass their competitors.  “It’s one thing to be an excellent athlete when the conditions are perfect,” he says. “But when the circumstances aren’t so favorable, those who have stronger wills are more likely to rise to victory.”

Your turn:  Dig Deep. Decide you are going to keep going and finish strong.  Remind yourself that this is what you are built for.  Recall the compelling reason why you do what you do.


As the rate of information and demands being thrown at us increases, anxiety and stress are accelerating to new epic proportions.  By incorporating these four strategies into your daily practice,  you’ll not only give yourself the SEAL-like edge for higher performance, you’ll increase your happiness factor too.


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