Mindset school - The importance of positive self-talk
Posted on September 16 2017
Our brains chatter away at us constantly. There is never a let up. We have over 60,000 thoughts a day and not all of them are productive or even sensible. So how do we make sure to only let positive stuff spew forth and how do we cut the negative crap off at the knees.
It’s easy to give into the whining, negative mentality, the poor me victim mentality, the “it’s unfair mentality” or the “I will never make it through this “ mentality.
It takes a constant vigilance to recognise when our thoughts are spiralling downward to and to stop that flow. We can do that by distraction, just like you would a naughty child that is crying because he can’t have the lollies, distracting him by “ ooh look there, the kids are playing ball, do you want to join in”. The principle being distract your mind from the small focus of the negative thought, not by saying “You can’t have the lolly” to use our example but by saying “hey look there is something exciting over there”.
We have the choice to change each of our thoughts. Negative thoughts may flow into the mix but it’s a matter of not letting them take control, it’s about getting rid of them as fast as possible and moving onto the positive again.
Ask yourself many times a day this question. What are your thoughts doing presently? Are these thoughts uplifting and moving your forward or bringing you down. Are you thinking in terms of blaming others, giving yourself excuses not to do something or denying truths and not facing them or are you thinking in a way that is owning up to your situation, being responsible for your own destiny and being accountable.
By stopping many times a day and asking yourself this you can start to build a picture of whether you are improving your thought processes or not.
You may have heard the saying “You are what you eat” but equally “You are what you think”
We often defeat ourselves, our plans and dreams and goals by letting that negative voice win over and give us the easy way out which is only ever easy in the present tense but always leads to bigger heavier regrets, negative consequences later.
By disciplining our thoughts and being hyper-vigilant we control our eventual destiny.
Our minds though work on many levels and sometimes our conscious thoughts are the only thing effecting us.
We also have physiological responses to our conscious and subconscious thoughts and we need to learn to control these as best we can as well. Take for example the pianist who practices for months then freezes as they get on stage to perform or the man at the scene of an accident who is frozen unable to help as panic and fear seize him.
By learning to control some aspects of our thought processes and our physiology we can minimise the chance of this happening to us. Breath control is a good place to start, diaphragmatic breathing that is controlled can help stop the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline from taking away our control and letting our nerves get the better of us or take control of our biochemistry/physiology.
You can see each scary goal you have as a challenge or you can see it as a threat. If you see it as a threat on a physical and chemical level you will get very nervous, start breathing very shallow, cortisol will be released into your blood system and your adrenaline will go through the roof and fear and stress will start taking over and your performance will be less than optimal.
If you see the event or goal as an exciting challenge and opportunity then you will be, on a physical level geared to optimum performance, optimum strength and creativity, will have faster reactions and be more mentally alert. You will still be amped up but testosterone will be released into your blood which will make you feel stronger, better and more confident and confidence is the key to success and bringing your best performance on the day.
It's getting into a STATE to succeed. If you do things like deep breathing, controlling your thought directions and focus on things that will help not hinder, on positive outcomes, not fear, if you can visualise the win, your physiology will mirror that and help you get there.
Try this next time you are nervous, find a private spot and do a few minutes of deep breathing with your eyes closed, breathing into your stomach not high in the chest - this tells your body you aren’t in danger (the fight or flight syndrome) so you stop producing cortisol and adrenaline and this calms you down. Now visualise success (do these also in the weeks leading up to the event), visualise you killing it, you winning, you feeling great be as detailed in your visualisation as possible, see it, feel it, smell it). Now get your body into the game by power posing. Stand up tall, chest out arms pumped in the air (like Rocky Balboa at the top of those steps), feel the power course through you. Go through in your mind all the preparation you have done. Now leave the fear behind, squash it, kick it out and put your game face on envisage yourself a warrior, strong and powerful, use whatever image you associate with confident, capable and powerful. Come out now on fire and ready to take on the challenge, whether its public speaking or running a marathon or facing a difficult board meeting. Feel the force as they say in star wars. It works.
Now I wanted to take you on a quick journey with me. Picture this scenario you are lost in the Jordanian desert with only half a litre of water left. You are surrounded by a pack of wild dogs, it’s pitch black and all you can hear are their snarls and all you can see are their eyes reflected by your torch light, you have been battling through the desert for over 40 hours without any sleep, our are fatigued in the extreme, your resources and energy, your mental focus and will power are waning and you are dehydrated and have extreme pain on top of that you have diarrhoea.
This is the sort of situation I regularly found myself in throughout my career as an ultra athlete. I would often end up in unforeseen situations where I had to control my mind or end up in dire straits or worse. In those deepest and darkest of moments you learnt there was no where to run to, no one to hide behind and no one but yourself you could get you out. Controlling your mind and your thoughts was the only chance you had of making it out.
Such lessons, as hard and as horrible as they are set you up for success because no matter the situation you face in that boardroom, that speaking engagement, that marathon or that obstacle in business you know there is a way through and it begins with you .
If you want more on mindset and taking control of your life check out my mindset academy Mindset Academy
or to get my free ebook on goal setting - how to overcome adversity and challenges, how to keep motivated and focused click here to download www.lisatamati.co.nz/goal-setting