Hey, it’s me, Coach Rebecca. Today I am going to give you a very quick exercise that will help you to get your thoughts on track quickly. Now, the reason why your thinking is so important as an athlete is that there is a direct connection between what you think and how you behave. So if you think ” I can’t do it” then you’re creating a feeling in your body that reinforces that, which then changes how you perform. so if you truly believe, “yeah I can” your body feels different. it actually changes what you are capable of.
Getting your thoughts on track through experiential learning
It’s one thing to talk, talk, talk to explain something to you. But I am going to have you actually experience it because that’s how you make those brain connections and make quick changes. I don’t want you to have to spend hours and hours a day training your mind. I want you to have a quick perspective change that boosts. your confidence in a lasting way because they change the way you see the world and yourself.
Let’s get your thoughts on track together
I want you to come up with a common negative thought. We are all naturally negative. That’s the way we are wired because our brains want to keep us safe. If our brains know that we have weaknesses or flaws then it can protect us from them.
An example of how our brains work
For example, if you are being chased by a tiger and you are running right at a body of water you have to be very aware. If you are not a good swimmer then you need to know, okay I am not a good swimmer I need to find a better way out of this situation. Or if you are a good swimmer but a very slow runner your brain should remind you of that so you can hide in a cave or get to that water and swim away.
What do the thoughts in our brains do to our bodies?
Our minds constantly tell us, you’re bad at this. This is not good. Don’t do that. You can’t handle that. That’s our brain’s job, is to tell us what we’re bad, flawed, and imperfect at, to protect us. But if our brains are constantly telling us those things our confidence is dropping by default. So think, what is a negative thought that pops into your head often?
What do I do with that negative thought?
I want you to take that negative thought and close your eyes. Once your eyes are closed I want you to start saying that thought to yourself over and over again for 20 seconds. Once that 20 seconds is up, I want you to think about how you are feeling.
How should I feel?
There are a few different things that can happen here. For some people, the experience is that they typically feel bad. Their stomach kind of hurts. They start to shrink down. You might notice that your shoulders started to slump over a little bit.
Some people don’t feel that at all. Maybe they don’t notice anything different at all.
There are people who can’t even keep the negative thought in their mind because they are distracted or they try to instantly fight back with something positive. The point of most mental training is to increase your awareness.
What your awareness can tell us about you
Now if you are one of those people who thought the thought and you are now thinking, I don’t feel any different. I feel totally normal. I could be wrong but what that tells me, is that you are fairly negative, negative is your normal.
If you are typically on the positive side you might have actually struggled a little to come up with that negative thought.
If you were someone who said “eww I don’t like that feeling” I’d say you are with the majority of people.
How does this help get our thoughts on track
What we teach at Perform Happy, is we don’t want to just take those thoughts and switch them off or even switch them around and think the opposite. If we do that our brains are going to fight back, it’s going to say “umm actually you can’t do that”. You can’t force positivity. you can’t always jump right from very negative to very positive.
Instead, we teach how to go from negative closer to somewhere neutral. We just want to take some of the negativity out of it.
Let’s get your thought from earlier back on track
Now think back to your thought from earlier. Instead of jumping right to positivity, think about what you can do. Don’t be afraid to lean on good solid facts, things that you do know, things that you can do. Think about the facts surrounding the thought and use those to get to the neutral place. If they are facts, then your brain can’t argue with them.
Even if all you can come up with is I am breathing, I am standing on my two legs, something so very basic. Something neutral is going to be much more productive than that negative thought from before. So take a second and get that negative thought of yours turned into a more neutral thought.
Using that neutral place to get our thoughts back on track
Now I want you to close your eyes again and repeat that neutral thought over and over again for 20 seconds. Keep repeating that factual thought that your brain can’t argue with. I want you to really dig in and believe that it is true.
After that 20 seconds notice how you feel. Be aware of the difference in how you feel now as to how you felt before with the negative thought.
My experience with changing from negative to neutral
My experience with this is I felt really bad before, and now I feel a little better. I am sitting up taller with my shoulders back, have a little smile on my face. I was breathing better. Now I wasn’t ready to go do backflips off the high beam but I felt more peaceful and calmer.
If I could feel that peaceful and calm when getting ready to do a skill, that would be much better than trying to do that skill with how I was feeling with that negative thought from earlier.
So take notice, do you feel a little different, a little better?
Now that’s the thing with any kind of training, mental or physical. It’s all incremental. Just like when learning new skills in the gym, you get a little better, and a little better, and then pretty quick you are developing habits.
Getting thoughts back on track with Perform Happy
Getting your thoughts back on track does not take a long time. It just takes repetition. That’s why we set up Perform Happy the way we did. You get these little skills over time that gets reinforced over and over again. That way over time it becomes a way of life so that you become that type of positive, mentally tough person.
I know how to get my thoughts on track, what else can I do to become mentally tough?
Alright, there is another 5-minute exercise to help you to build a champion mindset! If you want to gain more tools like this one and more exercises be sure to check out our FREE Champion Mindset Challenge that will be starting next week on January 17th. Be sure to follow our Facebook page Complete Performance Coaching, that’s where I will be going live every day next week to help change your mindset! If the challenge sounds like something that would benefit you or an athlete you know, head on over to http://completeperformancecoaching.com/challenge and get signed up.
We want this to be the biggest and best challenge we have done yet! We are giving away a $500 cash prize as well as other cool prizes! Invite anybody you think would benefit from some more mental training tips! We hope to see you there