On the radio, I heard an interview with the son of the late “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, who was a well-known professional wrestler who died in 2015. The son recounted his childhood, and growing up with his father who was away frequently due to his wrestling circuit tours. Roddy Pipper made a name for himself by playing the villain to many of pro wrestling’s famous stars. So his persona when on the wrestling circuit involved Mr. Pipper getting quite aggressive and combative with his enemies in wrestling.
But in stark contrast to his aggressive persona on the wrestling stage, his son insisted that his father was a kind and loving father and husband. But he would become so worked up while wrestling, that when it came time for him to come home in between wrestling gigs, he would not go home right away. Instead, he checked into a hotel in town, and he would let off some steam by working out at the gym and unwinding. After a few days of letting off some steam by working out, relaxing, and resting, Mr. Piper was ready to return home as a loving, caring family man.
So this is a case example of a professional athlete who needed to work himself up by triggering his fight or flight response when he was competing, and then needed to wind down when it was time for him to come home and join his family. When you are competing as an athlete at a high level, then you train your body to trigger the adrenaline response, or fight or flight response. Adrenaline is needed to switch your body into high gear, where you are faster, stronger, more alert, and hyperfocused on your target.
There are various ways to trigger your adrenaline response, which includes excitement, practice, visualization, listening to high energy music, and role-playing, just to name a few. But what is important for competition, is not so useful anymore when you want to have interactions with the rest of the world outside of your high-level competitors.
So in order to come back down from your juiced-up and highly-charged state after your competition is over, you need to unwind and calm down your adrenaline response. You can calm your adrenaline response by taking the time to depressurize yourself and engage in various relaxation strategies.