There is a lot to be said for Henry Ford’s famous quote: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” Even scientific research shows that being optimistic can help improve our performance.
So, let me explain how positive thinking can help and support you when you have a setback, whether in sports or life in general. First of all, in that moment something goes wrong, it’s important to take some time to realise that you have a choice as to how you respond it. You can either curl up in a ball and hide from the world, focusing on why this setback happened to you, or instead, you can choose to connect to your positive and optimistic self. I understand that sometimes it doesn’t feel as though this part of you is present, but when you search deep within you will find that it is. So, try to simply accept the setback and ask the questions: “What do I need to learn from this?” and “How will learning this valuable lesson support me in the future?”.
You see, it’s not that people with a positive mindset don’t have setbacks, fall off the healthy lifestyle wagon or come last at a race they worked so hard to win. No, it’s the way that they perceive these setbacks that help them achieve and improve for the next time.
I remember back to my days competing and how it felt after getting a rubbish result. I did curl up on the couch, I even cried at times but I gave myself a deadline for my self pity, and then I picked myself up, took a deep breath and asked: “How would my optimistic self deal with this?”. I would make a plan and move on with a confident skip in my step. A quick way to tap into your positive thinking is to remember why you started whatever you are doing in the first place – literally feel that passion in your belly and imagine yourself having fun doing your thing.
One of the most helpful things I can share about mindful meditation is the fact that thoughts, sounds and feelings will come and go throughout your practice, and that that’s ok. The key to a useful session is to allow them to do so, to simply accept that we don’t need to interact with every thought and know that we can instead observe our thoughts and feelings as they come and go. So, if you are having a stressful day or something is bothering you try the below exercise…
1. Take a moment for you and sit comfortably. Tune into your breath simply by noticing each in and out breath.
2. Notice how you are feeling and what thoughts are around at this point.
3. Allow yourself to sit with whatever feeling is present. Keep bringing your focus back to the breath each time the feelings and thoughts draw you away.
4. Sit for as long as you need until you feel ready to open your eyes and you’ll notice that the feeling has perhaps become more neutral or the body more relaxed now.
Choose love over fear
The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein
I have read all the books written by Gabrielle and each one has been brilliant in its own way. She often uses personal experiences to get her message across, which make the lessons she teaches that much more accessible. This book is very much about how when we choose love over fear in our lives, the universe works in our favour. It also reminds us once again how we create our own reality with either our fearful thoughts or our loving thoughts. It inspires and gives advice on how you can switch your perception from a place of worry and anxiety to one of happiness, belief and abundance. It encourages you to take stock of your life, to check in with the emotions and visions you are projecting onto the world, look closely at the reality of the life you are living, and notice if any changes in your thought patterns needs to be made.