News : How to beat negative thoughts in competition
Michael Johnson, a former American 200 and 400 m athlete, said a few wise words: “HI’ve learned to eliminate all unnecessary thoughts while on the track. I just concentrate. “ And the truth is that it went well that way.
Because, hasn’t it ever happened to you that you yourself have sabotaged yourself, training, competing or doing what you like the most by saying to yourself: “you are not going to get it “,” stop “,” if you are not good for this ” etc.? If this is the case, I recommend that you continue reading this article.
The automatic negative thoughts They usually appear due to stress, when we have very high expectations placed on the task or in the achievement of certain results, as well as when the objective is too demanding or important for us.
Following the Cognitive assessment theory de Lazarus and Folkman (1984), when faced with a stressful event, we make a first assessment of the severity or relevance of the situation, a second assessment of the skills and resources we have to manage it, and finally, a third assessment or re-assessment of the events that occur. They lead us to develop a coping strategy to be able to face it.
And… This is the crux of the matter! If we believe ourselves incapable of accomplishing the task – that is, if we have a second negative assessment of the situation – we will be burdened with thoughts of inadequacy, demotivation, and incompetence that will make it impossible for us to achieve what we had set out to do.
But why do we sometimes load our backpack with “negative stones” when we really are capable of managing the situation?
One possible explanation is that we are suffering from the so-called Imposter syndrome, while another possibility is that we are facing a natural response of anxiety carried out by our body, after evaluating the task to be carried out as a “threat” or a stressor.
Thus, our body sends us signals that prepare us for action, such as thoughts, emotions or physiological symptoms such as palpitations, sweating, intestinal discomfort, etc., and that activate or alarm us that what we have before us is something relevant.
However, although this is a “normal” reaction of our body, it is very uncomfortable, right? That our mind is crushing us through a loop of negative thoughts is not a thing that anyone likes.
That is why I am going to give you a series of keys to be able to face it.
Keys to eliminate negative thoughts
Many patients come to me for consultation saying the following: “Is that I say to myself over and over again” stop thinking about that, it is useless, but it does not work for me. ” Well of course it doesn’t work! Because if I tell you: “don’t think of a pink elephant”, what image comes to mind next? Trying to trick our mind is not an option. So what can we do?
We are going to activate our “thought traffic light”.
First of all, let’s identify our discomfort making us aware of the negative emotions we feel and the signals that our thoughts and our body send us, as we are “driving at full speed”.
Second, we will be aware of the thoughts we have. We are going to “locate the traffic light”.
Ex: “Okay, I’m telling myself that I’m useless, that I’m worthless, that I want to stop …”
Then we go to interrupt those thoughts with a cutting stimulus: “Stop!”. We are going to “put our traffic light on red.” For that, you can help yourself with a blow to the hand, a scrunchie, or simply look for a word to cut that negative loop of beliefs.
Then we are going to “change to amber” the thoughts and we are going to ask the following questions: What evidence do I have that these thoughts are true? Are they real or are they the result of the emotions I am experiencing? Do these thoughts help me or sink me? Are they useful at this time?
It is not the same to be, to have, and we are not all the thoughts that we have, nor all that we believe comes true.
By last, Change of thoughts! Once thinking has stopped and our perspective changed, we are going to contribute a belief that is really adaptive, such as: “Come on, don’t get lost, focus on the task”, What was the goal of this race? … well, we’re going to get him ”,“ of course you can, you’ve shown it to yourself training other times ” etc.
This, which seems a very long process and impossible to carry out in such a short period of time as a competition, our mind can do it in a matter of seconds. Let’s not forget that it is a very smart machine! Or don’t we have time to re-evaluate our decisions and actions in a matter of microseconds? Yes of course!
Finally, when you face a competition remember: not everything you think is true.